Seniors hoping for some sort of spring sports season

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

LEE COUNTY – With a spring high school sport season still under a delay until at least April 13, some seniors are hoping to get some sort of season in before leaving school.

Both the boys’ Iowa High School Athletic Association and the girls’ Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union suspended all sports through the state’s April 12 school closures, which puts tennis, soccer, golf and track on hold.

Some seniors like Holy Trinity Catholic’s Maille Sheerin, who was gearing up for another season as a defender on the Crusader girls soccer team, said she’s hearing the season may be cancelled. She said that would be heartbreaking since it’s her final year.

Fort Madison senior Matt Hellige, gets in a workout with his dad, John, on Wednesday afternoon along Avenue E in Fort Madison. Hellige is hoping for some sort of spring track season in his final year on the team. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

“I’ve heard quite a few people say we’re not going to have spring sports,” Sheerin said Wednesday.

“Those are just rumors and nothing’s been sent but honestly, that would really suck.”

Sheerin’s father, Michael is the head coach of the girls’ team, which makes it twice as difficult as she can’t even workout with her dad, while other athletes can get coaching and training with parents.

“Not having my dad coach me my senior year would be really hard,” Sheerin said. “I was part of the school musical and that got cancelled and losing that and soccer would be tough.”

Sheerin said she would be happy just getting a start at any point in the season and get some games in, as she understands the seriousness of the spread of the coronavirus.

Fort Madison’s Matt Hellige, who has qualified for the Iowa High School Track and Field Championships in distance runs the past two years, is continuing his regular workouts while training with his dad. He finished 12th in the 1600 meter run and 5th in the 3200 meter run in 2019.

“You can’t workout with your team and that’s really the only hindrance right now. Aside from that, I’ve been doing my normal workouts.”

But Hellige said he’s pretty upset with the state of the season because he was looking forward to improving his time and possibly medaling at the state meet. That meet is still on the unified schedule to begin Thursday, May 14.

“That, and improving your skills is what sports are all about,” he said. “I’d be really disappointed. Not only is this my last chance to qualify, but last sport for me in qualify in in high school with cross country done.”

Hellige will run track and cross country at Mt. Mercy College in Cedar Rapids upon graduation. He said it’s been business as usual as far as keeping up with workouts.

Fellow senior Quentin Schneider, who took 7th at last years state meet in the 400 hurdles said track is his favorite season and he hopes the season can start at some point.

“Honestly, I’d like to see it start after this four-weeks is up. I don’t really want to go back to school, but I’d like to put the season back and run,” Schneider said.

“I saw a petition on Facebook where they were asking to have the spring sports rolled in with the summer sports and I wouldn’t mind that, but I’d rather just start in April.”

Schneider said he’s been working on his endurance during the suspension after straining a quad in an indoor meet in Cedar Falls before the virus hit Iowa.

He said losing that final year as a senior would be hurt.

“It would hurt because it’s my last year,” he said. “I was looking forward to track which is one of my favorite sports because it’s only me for the most part. So if I messed up it I only have myself to blame.

Schneider said he’s planning on running sprints and the 400 hurdles at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge next year.

Dalton Westercamp, a senior at Central Lee said he’d like to get a season in, but said going to deep into the summer could hurt is workouts for football. Westercamp signed to run track and play football at Coe College next year.

“Honestly I haven’t thought about it too much. I mean I want to do it and I guess I’m alright with half a season or something like that, but I don’t want it to go to deep in the summer as I have to start getting ready for football,” he said.

Westercamp said the disappointment comes with missing the camaraderie of the season with his friends and teammates.

“Its really disappointing to be honest. This has slowed everything down for everybody. “Track is about pushing your friends and teammates to the limit and pushing times,” he said.

“Either way, I’m going to move past it. It hasn’t been really emotional for me. I signed for track and football and I need to keep working for that. This track season was work for college, but I should still be on par with others because we’re all in the same boat.”

Sam Pothitakis, the senior goalkeeper for the Crusaders, said the year was looking to be an exciting one because numbers were up.

Pothitakis has one of her best years as junior last year and was hoping to build on that her senior year.

The Crusaders got in a few open gyms before the season was suspended, but Pothitakis said she hopes a full season resumes even if it runs into the summer.

“I’d definitely rather play into the summer since it’s my last harrah.”

Sheerin may have summed it up best when she said the delay… is just boring.

“It’s so boring,” she said. “I’m sitting home watching Netflix and doing homework. I’m eating and napping… and I’m napping because I need to stop eating.”

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