‘I’m staying optimistic;’ High school athletes trying to handle suspension of spring sports

Cedar at Crimson Cliffs, Washington, Utah, March 10, 2020 | Photo by Dave Larson, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — With the suspension of K-12 schools being extended through May 1 in the state, the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) has also extended their suspension of athletics activities untill May 1. This can be a tough time for athletes, so we reached out to a couple of them to see how they are handling the break from activities.

Desert Hills vs. Dixie, 4A state baseball championship, St. George, Utah, May 21, 2019 | File photo by Dave Larson, St. George News

After winning a state championship in girls basketball, Japrix Weaver was gearing up to play softball for the Cedar Reds when the suspension of sports was announced. The Reds won the Region 9 softball championship last season and were returning a good amount of players from that team.

“I’m staying optimistic so I still get workouts in when I can by playing catch with my siblings and hitting in the backyard,” Weaver said. “I really hope that the people with the authority to make the decisions on this situation will not give up on the thought of us going back to school and sports even if it’s for a short time.”

Desert Hills boys soccer was also looking forward to their season after they lost last year in the state championship game to Sky View. They have 16 seniors on their roster and now they may not be able to play out their season.

“Right now to stay in shape, we have a dad on the team who has been nice enough to help some of us train and workout in his home gym,” senior Garrett Lewis said. “It’s really nice and definitely good for us. Staying in shape has been more on the tough side because of how much we are at home. It can be easy to make a wrong decision in what we eat or just choose not to workout in general. I have an indoor bike at home and a home workout that’s I’ve been doing to keep my strength up and I have fields two minutes away from my house that I have used with my brother to keep playing and getting touches on the ball.”

Snow Canyon at Desert Hills, Region 9 boys soccer season opener, St. George, Utah, March 3, 2020 | File photo by Dave Larson, St. George News

For the Thunder, this suspension has taken an even bigger toll on them mentally.

“Mentally it’s been very hard because over the past couple months, we’ve been putting in so many extra hours to be able to lift that trophy again,” senior Sawyer Heaton said. “This was our revenge season. We probably have the most fit and athletic team in the state, so we are doing our best to maintain that status by working out in smaller groups at home gyms and keeping each other motivated in our group text. We’re still improving every day so if or when season comes back, we’ll be ready.”

The Roundy siblings at Pine View – Brandon, Brock and Kaitlin – play baseball and softball for the Panthers. Brandon is at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 since he has diabetes, so the brothers have been focusing on keeping their social distance on the golf course for now since they also play golf for the Panthers.

Kaitlin is a senior, however, so this will be her final season at Pine View and her final season as a high school athlete.

“Not having baseball and softball is killing us,” Brock Roundy said. “We are at least lucky because there are three Roundys stuck here at home together.  We’ve been working out together each day at home – throwing, bullpens, taking grounders from my dad and hitting on whatever field we can find. I hope we can get back on the field and play a few games this season, especially because my sister is a senior and I want her to be able to play. I feel the worst for her.”

Snow Canyon at Pine View softball, St. George, Utah, March 19, 2019 | File photo by Dave Larson, St. George News

Crimson Cliffs senior Allie Laub, a transfer from Enterprise, says the stoppage is particularly a “bummer” for her because it was going to be the team’s first season as a softball program.

Laub is committed to play softball at Salt Lake Community College so while this suspension could take away her senior season, she’s using the time to prepare for the jump to college competition. That is the silver lining to this suspension for Laub.

“I actually emailed my college coaches to see if they could give me some workouts so I could start preparing now instead of in the summer,” Laub said. “That’s been a good thing for me and I feel like I’ll have an extra two and a half more months to workout and focus harder on my individual training.”

She is doing body-weight workouts on her own paired with cardio to stay in shape during this time, but she is also getting reps in on the field with her dad. He will pitch to her and hit her ground balls as well. She’s also working on her mentality when getting ready to move on to college.

“I have more time with online school, which is kind of tough. But it allows me to have more time to myself, to workout and spend more time with my family before leaving,” Laub said.

It is clear that the suspension is affecting athletes from different sports around Region 9 in different ways, but most are hoping that they will be able to play some of their season before graduating or moving into the summer offseason.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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