Senior Spring Athletes Hit Hard by COVID-19

Years of early morning practices, late-night gym sessions, injuries, wins, losses, and an excessive amount of blood, sweat, and tears, all amounting to one final season. Which then gets cancelled. Absolutely gut-wrenching.

On March 12th, 2020, spring athletes across the country were shattered with the news of the cancellation of their athletic seasons. As a result of the vast spread of COVID-19, the NCAA announced the cancellation of remaining spring championships to “ensure the events do not contribute to the spread of the pandemic.” For many senior athletes, the thought of finishing their senior season is hard enough…to then have it cancelled is a heartbreaking way to end their collegiate careers.  

When senior softball athlete Kristina Del Gaiso heard the news, she was “absolutely heartbroken.” She saw it posted on the Atlantic East twitter account, which she had spent the whole day checking for updates.

“My senior softball season ended after only a week of playing. Months of our hard work during practice and team bonding [were] not given a chance to be shown on the field. As a senior, it’s devastating to end your career without even knowing your last game would be your last, as well as knowing you will not be able to play again with your best friends,” said Del Gaiso.

This feeling rippled throughout the athletic community, with many athletes expressing their heartbreak. “It’s rough because we had an amazing team this year, and we all thought we had the potential to go far…we only got to play in one preseason tournament before all of this happened. So, the fact that we didn’t even have a real tournament before our season was cancelled really hit me hard,” said senior rugby athlete Sean Spence.

For many student-athletes, the sport is so much more than the game itself. It’s the skills you learn, the relationships you build, and the memories you look back on when you’re old.

“People take for granted how much fun practice is. Every day I get to go out and play the sport that has given me an opportunity to grow as an athlete and as a person. The side conversations while your coaches are trying to explain a drill, you have no idea what he’s talking about and [you’re] laughing at one of your teammates when they do something funny. All of those moments I will cherish forever,” said senior men’s lacrosse athlete Alex Rucci.

“I will definitely miss game days with my girls. From the singing in the locker room to screaming ‘Roll Knights’ throughout the game. I’m going to miss my second family,” said senior women’s lacrosse athlete Sara Ropski.

Although the somber feeling remains, these athletes continue to go on with the support of their friends and family and the thought that they will soon be reunited with their teammates, who they share this experience with. At this point, staying busy seems to be the consensus among these athletes as they continue to process this unfortunate situation.

For all other athletes who are eagerly awaiting their next season, here’s some advice from these current seniors: soak in the opportunity, never take your time on the field for granted, and play every day like it is your last.