By ALEX SPONSELLER Last Friday, the Rhode Island Interscholastic League cancelled the 2020 spring sports season in accordance with Gov. Gina Raimondo, who announced that schools would continue distance learning for the remainder of the school year. The
Last Friday, the Rhode Island Interscholastic League cancelled the 2020 spring sports season in accordance with Gov. Gina Raimondo, who announced that schools would continue distance learning for the remainder of the school year.
The cancellation now officially ends the 2019-2020 high school sports season, leaving many local athletes upset with the news.
“I’m not going to have the opportunity to play for my high school again. You know, I thought that this would be my last ride in high school, my last ride with my friends, teammates, coaches. We felt that we could go far as an under-the-radar team. It’s sad the more you think about it,” said Cranston East senior baseball player Griffin Martin, who was not surprised by the news and plans on taking it one step at a time. “I can’t say that I didn’t see it coming, I think we all saw it coming. As a team, we had our group chat, we had hope, but now that it is official, especially for me and the other seniors, it is sad. We thought we were going to have a special season, we felt that we had a special team, so it is sad to not be able to see what that could have become. There’s nothing we can do about it now but to move forward.”
Martin’s senior teammate Christian Adams also felt that this year’s club had a chance to make a deep run.
“I had time to process it since I expected it. It's tough, but considering everything going on out there I am lucky to not have worse things to worry about. We had high hopes for this year. We didn’t have a great year last year, we had a new coach that was still learning the players, still figuring things out. This year we had that familiarity, we had things figured out, we felt that we would be able to make some noise,” said Martin, who will miss playing high school ball. “It was a great chance to go out there and have fun with your friends, teammates, win some games. That’s what it is all about. Those interactions in the dugout, the locker room, those are the things that I’m going to miss the most.”
West senior softball player Olivia Conti was sad to see her senior season taken away, especially considering she is finally healthy after rehabbing an injury.
“I was heartbroken. Last season, I had a shoulder injury and was only able to hit. This season was the first season that I was going to be really able to play my main position which is shortstop. Seeing senior year coming around, thinking I was going to be able to play my spot, then the news came around. It broke my heart,” said Conti.
Conti appreciates West coach Jeff Smith for being supportive of her and her teammates during this tough time.
“We’ve had a group chat going. Our coaches have been trying to keep us in good spirits. Coach Jeff (Smith), I couldn’t be more grateful for him. We’re all heartbroken, the sophomores and juniors feel horrible for the seniors, too. For us seniors, we get to play in college, but this was our last chance to play together which made it hurt even more,” said Conti.
Fellow West senior Meg Anderson was frustrated by the cancellation due to the fact that it was possibly her last opportunity to sharpen her skills prior to playing next season for Division II University of New Haven.
“Losing out on your senior sports season in high school, losing the last chance to play with people that you have been playing with for 14 years, it hurts. This was a very important year in terms of getting ready for (college),” said Anderson. “I play on a travel team in the summer, but those extra three months of high school are so important with getting prepared. Losing out on the season means I’m losing out on a lot of working time which sucks.”
The cancellation also affects the local freshmen quite a bit. The youngsters will now have to wait an extra year to hit the field and get their feet wet at the high school level.
Pilgrim freshman softball player Alyssa Twomey was looking forward to getting to know her teammates and make her mark on the program.
“I was really looking forward to my first high school season. I trained hard all winter long, as I am sure a lot of the other girls had, too. This whole thing took me by surprise and I was definitely not prepared for my freshman softball season to be taken away that quickly,” said Twomey. “It was truly devastating, especially for the seniors I can imagine. I was looking forward to getting to play with all the girls, and now there are some who I will not be able to experience playing softball with. I was so excited for the softball season, but now I will never know what it’s like to play high school softball as a freshman. Overall, it’s very upsetting but that doesn’t mean we can all stop working hard for the upcoming summer season and the following school seasons to come.”
GOOD OLD DAYS: Members of the Cranston West boys volleyball team celebrate after clinching the state championship last season. (Photo by Alex Sponseller) HIGH FIVES: Lily Brown returns to the dugout after scoring in a Pilgrim softball game last spring. (Photo by Alex Sponseller) STATE CHAMPS: The Bishop Hendricken baseball team after winning last year's state baseball championship. (Photo by Ryan D. Murray)