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Athletes React to Cancellation of Spring Season
Players from around Idaho voiced their thoughts on losing the final athletics season of their high school career
Published: 4/17/2020 4:33:50 PM

Click here to enter your favorite athlete into the Yearbook

It was nearly guaranteed to happen, but Friday’s news still stung all the same. 

Just before midday, the Idaho High School Activities Association announced it would be cancelling all spring athletics and activities, including state tournaments. The news was expected, as Idaho high schools were to be shut down at least until May 1, and spring athletics had not seen the light of day in a month. 

But the decision still carried a heavy toll across the state, as countless seniors saw their final season disappear right before their eyes.

For Filer's Aspen Ryan, the announcement ended the Wildcat softball team's chance at back-to-back state titles and a fourth consecutive trip to the state tournament. 

"This has all been really hard to go through. It has lead to many tears and heartbreak. I never thought that my senior year would get taken away in an instant," Ryan said. "As a senior, this was our last chance to put on our uniforms and show our pride for our school. All I can think is what could have been and what if this never happened. To all spring sport athletes affected by this and especially the class of 2020, my heart breaks for you and with you. This is not how it was supposed to end. All we can do now is keep our heads held high and know we are destined for greatness."

Many athletes across the state lost a chance to reach the postseason, as well as the chance to be honored by the school and community for years of hard work.

“I wish I and every senior could’ve gotten their perfect senior night. However, I’m so grateful to my coaches and family ensuring that this isn’t the end for me,” said senior Bishop Kelly softball player Addison Ribordy. “Although the circumstances are devastating, I am hopeful in knowing that I still have the wonderful opportunity of playing at North Idaho College next year. I would also like to add how grateful I am of the IHSAA for not prematurely ending the season.”

New Plymouth's Hailey Rupp said she and her six seniors found time to practice together before Gov. Brad Little's stay-at-home order, all in the hope that sports would return. 

"This is devastating to me. I have been playing competitive softball since I was 9," Rupp said. "Every season, I work harder to hone my skills. I was really hoping to finish my senior year off with a bang."

Idaho now joins 26 other states in shutting down spring athletics, as new cases of COVID-19 continue to appear around the country. 

“It is very disappointing, seeing that I am no longer able to play baseball with my friends, something I’ll never forget,” said Derek Pearse, a senior baseball player at Post Falls. “Being able to play in tournaments with my team and staying win hotels with them was so fun and I am going to miss that.”

Emma Smith, a senior softball athlete at Mountain View High school, said not knowing her final time on the diamond would actually be her last with teammates Oakleigh Kearby and Kalee Boots hurt the most. 

“It’s absolutely heartbreaking to hear, because for a  while there was that sliver of hope that we were holding on to,” Smith said. “Hearing that I won’t get to spend my last few months of high school doing what I love, surrounded by the people I love, is so incredibly sad. All of our lasts that we already had but didn’t remember and we didn’t cherish those moments like we should have because we didn’t think it would be over so soon.”

Smith’s sentiment was echoed by athletes across the state on social media, who lamented the fact they wouldn’t get to spend their year of lasts with the ones they had grown up with. 

“I’m super bummed that I don’t get to spend this last season on the field with my amazing teammates and coaches, but it has been really cool seeing all the support rallying behind all the seniors,” said Genesee softball athlete Regan Zenner. “I’ll be the first to wish next year’s team the best of luck because I know they’ll be able to do great things. There’s some amazing talent among the underclassmen and my biggest regret is not being able to spend time on the field with them.”

All eyes are now on the fall season. While the IHSAA seems optimistic sports will be in full swing come August, uncertainty surrounding the virus’ spread has played a factor in professional leagues like the NFL proceeding with caution. 

“For the younger players, they should keep training as much as they can so they can do their best, even if it’s just running a mile or hitting off a tee,” said Salmon baseball senior Dakota McIntosh. 

For those wishing to honor all Idaho athletes, especially those affected by Friday’s decision, has created an online statewide Yearbook. More information can be found by clicking here


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