Class of 2020’s Final Sports Seasons Cut Short

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Marianne Mihas, Staff Writer

On Tuesday, April 21st, the IHSA officially canceled all state-series tournaments after Governor Pritzker’s announcement that Illinois schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year. This crushing announcement caused many to reflect on the highlights of their high school: sports careers. For seniors who are losing their last sports season, it is a difficult reality to cope with. Many of them, however, are doing their best to stay connected with their teams via Zoom and with team workouts, but the sad conclusion is many of these athletes will not play another game together, leaving captains unsure of what to do.

Despite the fact that she won’t ever play with her Latin teammates again, Lily Weaver still believes “it’s more important than ever to set a good example for our teammates. It can be hard to maintain a positive attitude in times like these, especially for the seniors who will miss out on playing their last soccer season at Latin.”  

And these seniors have all had to process this loss in their own way. George Landsberg, a baseball captain, tries to remain positive. He says, “It was definitely tough for me at first, but understanding that it’s out of my control is what allows me to see that it’s just an unfortunate circumstance, but I’m glad to be healthy and safe.” 

“I think right now, it’s just about keeping everyone’s spirits on the team high. This is especially hard for me to do because I feel like my spirits are probably the least on the team right now, but it’s just about staying together and remaining connected,” says Jonathan Wuyan, a senior boy’s tennis captain. 

Charlotte Ryan, a senior girl’s lacrosse captain, doesn’t think she’s processed the fact that she won’t ever wear a Latin jersey again. “I am sad that I won’t be able to have any more late bus rides with my teammates or the mix of nerves and excitement before the draw, but I think what helps me through that sadness is thinking about the positives.” And there were plenty of positives. After being part of the program for three years, Charlotte and her team were officially going to be considered a varsity sport by the Latin rather than a club, like they had been in past years. “There was a lot of excitement from all players and coaches about that change.”

Not everyone feels like they have accepted the reality of the end of their high school athletic careers. Jonathan is confident that tennis will be one of the things he remembers most about high school years from now, as it changed his perspective on the entire sport. “I think I’m definitely still in the denial and anger stage. Tennis season has always been my favorite time of the year. I’ve met a few of my closest friends through the team and tennis at Latin reignited my love for the sport when I started disconnecting with it.” Not only was this Jonathan’s last year on the team, but it was also the best chance he and his doubles partner, fellow senior Tej Bahri, had to win state. “This year, we all had extremely high expectations,” Jonathan says, “Now that this was my last year, I was prepared to leave it all out there. Not getting that chance is really just painful. 

At the root of all the pain seniors are feeling is the disappointment of losing something they have been looking forward to long before they were freshmen. “I idealized my senior year in so many ways, and I never expected it to end like this, especially not due to a global pandemic,” Lily says, a sentiment that is sure to be shared by many of her peers of the class of 2020. 

“If I had known that my senior year would’ve been like this, I think I would’ve done a lot of things differently and pushed myself even more,” says Jonathan. George hopes that  “the younger members on our team especially remember how bad it feels to have baseball stripped away, so that they become that much more committed next season and play with the tenacity that every time they step on the field could be their last.”

The idea of not taking things for granted was echoed by each senior, and the message is certainly reaching younger team members. McLaine Lieke, a freshman on the track team, says, “I think everyone has realized how important they are to us.” When asked if he had anything he wanted his senior team members to know, Sophomore Sean Episcope said, “I am really going to miss the seniors after this year. I loved all of our practices and outings as a group, and I so wish we could’ve played out your season together.” 

Thank you, class of 2020, for the blood sweat and tears you have put into Latin athletics and more importantly, your team. You have left a lasting effect on the community, and we cannot thank you enough.