Local college athletes respond to canceled seasons

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Adams' baseball career at Marian is over

Baylee Adams had his baseball career abruptly end last week.

With no warning, the 2016 North Montgomery graduate was disappointed with the result of spring sports at Marian University being canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Adams tweeted the following on Monday.

“This really sucks, baseball has been my life since I was 4. The fact that I played my last game without knowing really hurts. Let me tell ya, a 6-4-3 double play with the bases loaded in a tie game in the top of the tenth inning is not the way to end your career. I love this game #17out.”

Adams, who will graduate in May, helped lead the Knights to three-straight NAIA National Tournaments.

Lowe ends career on high note

While 2016 Southmont graduate Justin Lowe’s track career at Indiana University East ended on NAIA’s biggest stage, he was still left with the what-if thought in his head as the outdoor track and field season loomed when spring sports were canceled.

“It’s a mix of both (emotions),” he said. “It does make it nice that my last meet was one of the biggest meets, though it does really dig deep knowing that I did have potential for the spring season to run the best times I’ve ever ran, break records, and possibly compete and even had a chance of winning an outdoor national event.”

Lowe competed in the indoor national championships in both the 600 meter dash and 4X400 meter relay, and was tuning up for the outdoor season where he had previously competed in the 400 meter dash, an event he qualified for the state finals in as a Mountie.

“My reaction to the cancellation was definitely disappointment and at the same time a little bit angry,” he said. “I was having a really good final season and it just kind of suck to have that taken out of your hands and that you’re done.”

IU East and the All-River States Conference were one of the last to pull the plug on spring sports, but the decision was nearly inevitable once the NAIA canceled all spring championships.

The NAIA has followed the NCAA in extending a year of eligibility to all senior spring athletes, which has left Lowe and many other non-scholarship athletes undecided, as that would mean the addition of another years’ tuition and living expenses, and a lost year in the workforce.

Dugger’s sophomore track and field season halted

Southmont graduate Kelsey Dugger was disappointed to hear the cancellation of her upcoming sophomore track and field season at UIndy.

“For me it was very shocking,” she said. “I just felt kind of lost and it was hard because our coach had the same amount of information as us and no one knew what was going on. It’s still really hard to believe that outdoor season is over before it even started.”

Dugger had a pair of teammates that were in Alabama for the Division II Indoor National Championships when they were canceled.

While the 2018 Mountie alumna is frustrated with the NCAA’s decision, she understands and is grateful to have two more years to compete.

“I’m fortunate that I still have two more years, and my heart breaks for my senior teammates and other friends who will never get to run their last outdoor season. My heart also goes out to my teammates and other athletes that have worked hard all season to make it to nationals and now don’t get to compete,” she said. “But I do respect the NCAA for what they are doing because COVID-19 is very serious and it’s better to be cautious and to try to stop the spreading, then to risk getting an illness.”

Zachary’s lacrosse season ends early

Southmont graduate Macy Zachary was a four-sport athlete for the Mounties, and her love for multiple sports has continued at Division III Heidelberg University in Ohio.

Zachary graduated from Southmont in 2018 before heading to Heidelberg to play soccer, before also competing as a cheerleader, and on the track and field team. Most recently, the sophomore joined the lacrosse team.

Now with no sports, Zachary is faced with a void she’s never experienced before.

“The cancellations hit especially hard for me, as I was not only being taken away from lacrosse season, but also spring-season soccer,” she said. “I haven’t had a break in sports since I was 4-years old, so it’s going to make me really appreciate what I had and want to work a lot harder in both sports.”

Zachary said she had fallen in love with lacrosse in the short time she had been on the team, and her team was in the locker room just before the start of their last game when the news broke.

“We actually found out via an email we received while in the locker room before warm-up of our last game,” she said. “There were a lot of tears. We have the best start to the season that the program has ever had an a crazy talented senior class, so cutting this season short was devastating. There was such a broad range of emotions, from people literally sitting in their lockers crying to others trying to joke and make everyone feel better.”

Knowling loses freshman campaign

Southmont graduate Paige Knowling and the Hanover softball team were just 12 games into their 2020 season when the news broke of a canceled season.

“We all found out in the middle of class and instantly were heartbroken,” she said. “We had a meeting with our coach later that day and our coach was heartbroken for us that we found out the way we did. Our first reaction was our hearts being broken for our two seniors who we instantly became best friends from the first day we came on campus.”

The impact on those seniors, like at schools all over the country, was the biggest. The Panthers at least were able to play a game following the decision to cancel the entire season.

“We knew we have three more years left, but they didn’t and their season could end any moment so for us underclassmen we played for them more than we played for ourselves.”

While many people say it’s just sports, Knowling knows it’s much more to the athletes themselves.

“It’s more than that to the kids who go out and everyday put their heart into the sport they love 3-4 times a day,” she said.

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