Sports: Seniors respond to a canceled spring sports season


In response to the threat of coronavirus, many measures have been taken to limit the spread of the disease, including the closing of schools and the cancellation of high school spring sports across the nation.

On April 3, the California Interscholastic Federation Executive Director Ron Nocetti announced their decision to cancel spring Section, Regional and State Championship sporting events. Nocetti said, “As always, our top priority is everyone’s ongoing health and safety during this challenging time, and we all look forward to the day when education-based athletics resumes.”

The abrupt ending of the 2020 high school sports season has produced downcast feelings for athletes, particularly seniors.

Redlands East Valley senior Nicole Longfellow has been swimming competitively for 13 years. She has accomplished much in her high school swim career, such as swimming on the varsity team and advancing to the CIF finals in all four years. Recently, Longfellow made the decision not to swim at the collegiate level. 

“If only I knew my 100 breast at the RHS dual meet was the last time I [would] dive off the block, I would’ve looked at it differently – or at least warmed up for it,” said Longfellow. “Having my last season canceled is unfortunate and I know I’m not the only one looking forward to ending it with a bang. But at the end of the day, everything happens for a reason and I still have three years of wonderful memories for swimming at REV.”

Despite having his track season canceled, REV senior Matt Casillas had a successful cross country season in the fall. His team placed 5th at the state championships and won their league title. 

“I was also ranked 8th in state and 19th in the nation which helped me push through these hard times as well,” said Casillas. “After it’s all said and done, my teammates and I may have not had our track season, but the amount of positive results from [our] cross country season was able to make up for it.”

Casillas plans on attending Cal State East Bay on a scholarship to run cross country and track. While at CSUEB, Casillas also aspires to pursue a career in the nursing field.

Hodges Stadium shown on May 9, 2020. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

Senior Isaiah Green is on the varsity boys tennis squad at REV.

“Having your season canceled sucks, especially if it’s your last season. But even though it was canceled, I still made great memories this year,” said Green.

After high school, Green plans to attend a four-year university, but is unsure of whether he’ll want to play tennis.

Tennis courts shown at Redlands High School on May 9, 2020. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

Redlands High School senior Michael Godwin is a member of the varsity boys volleyball team.

“My first reaction was positive like ‘we’ll be back, we will play again’ but slowly started losing hope in our season, but right now, I’m just sad and disappointed that I didn’t get to finish my senior season and knowing that I don’t get to have a senior night really started to hurt,” said Godwin. “I’m gonna miss the guys I played with this season and some I won’t play with again, but I was happy to lead this team while I could.”

Godwin plans on attending Redlands Community College then transferring to a four-year college after two years.

RHS senior Nahri Tath-Slezak is a captain for the varsity softball team. 

“The season being canceled is really heartbreaking because it’s the last time I’ll get to play with my family,” said Tath-Slezak. “We had something special this year and it was gone just like that, but I just hope everyone realizes to not take anything for granted no matter how difficult it is.”

Tath-Slezak plans on attending Middle Tennessee State University to play softball. While there, she intends to major in either criminal justice or nursing.

Redlands High School’s softball field shown on May 9, 2020. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

Citrus Valley senior Vincent Padilla is on the varsity baseball team. 

“It sucks to have my baseball season end literally my last year of high school, but the CV team was hyped for the season to start and then we got the news that it got canceled because of this pandemic and it just went all down here from there,” said Padilla.

This season, Padilla wanted “to really have a good last year with friends and hopefully for baseball to win CBL.”

After high school, Padilla plans to attend college to play more baseball.

CV seniors Gokul Rajeev, Elyse Ayala and Angelee Chea responded to the end of their badminton season. 

“I’m just disappointed it got canceled my senior year because it’s my last year to ever go back there and ball out. But I understand that the safeties of the [athletes] and their families must be prioritized. We haven’t talked much about it I guess, coach [Harshberger] just copy and pasted an email from the athletic director about the closure of all spring sports,” said Rajeev.

Rajeev continues, “Being on the badminton team for four years, I’ve learned more than I can list here. I’ve learned how to be an encouraging student, a leader, and, most importantly to play my four years demonstrating CLASS [Character, Leadership, Attitude, Scholarship, Service].”

“I feel disappointed that I didn’t get to finish the season and make my last few memories as a senior with my teammates,” said Ayala. “It was something we were all looking forward to as well as the other spring sports. But I’m still grateful for the memories I was able to make.”

Chea said, “I’m really sad about it since I didn’t get to play my senior year, and I knew that our team was going to have to come up with all the skills that the new freshmen and sophomores showed this year… I was really looking forward to seeing the team become better and seeing how far I’ve come with playing for only one year.”

Redlands Unified School District Athletic Director Pat Hafley said, “My feeling is that I surely hope we can get a better handle on COVID-19 and get back to school. From there, it would allow us to pick up on all of the extra-curricular activities that our students enjoy so much and work so very hard at being their best…this includes our athletic teams.”

Hafley continues, “I felt so badly when the spring season of sport was cancelled, especially for RUSD senior student-athletes.”

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