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Spring athletes lament what could have been, move forward

Souderton's Jacob Horton (21) rounds first base as his teammates gather around home plate to celebrate his two-run home run during a game against Pennridge on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (James Beaver/For MediaNews Group)

Roman Katona took an extra lap.

“I was the only one running on the track at that point and I did it so I could soak in the experience of that great meet and just what we accomplished as a team,” the Central Bucks West senior said of the Indoor State Championships, which capped off the winter track season. “I never thought it could possibly be my last time running as a high school athlete.”

In accordance with Governor Wolf’s announcement that Pennsylvania schools will be closed to in-person learning for the remainder of the school year, the PIAA cancelled all remaining winter and spring sports and championships.

Multiple local basketball squads will not get to finish out their state-playoff runs, and the PIAA-2A Swim Championships were never able to be held out at Bucknell University.

The spring season — outside of a few practices and scrimmages — never got to take place.

“Hard to find solace in this now…but baseball is for life. Remember that, class of 2020,” North Penn baseball coach Kevin Manero shared with his team via Twitter. “There are so many ways to be in this wonderful game for a long time to come. This is not an end, just an odd beginning.”

What could have been >> The spring brought a lot of promise for area teams, athletes and coaches.

“This senior season meant a lot for me and my teammates,” said Katona. “We had a lot of good things coming together towards the end of winter heading into the spring season after two state medals.

“I know myself, along with my team, had so much potential for what we could do. We were just getting into CB West’s dominant track groove when we had to stop. We all talked about how more than anything we all wanted to get back to practice.”

Practicing was a challenge in itself.

Kacie Sienko, who competed in both basketball and track and field at Neshaminy, had difficulty.

“I am a horizontal jumper (long and triple) and a sprinter, and it’s been frustrating not to be able to train with my team,” she said. “I have been working out every day trying to stay in shape, however, working on jumps has been a challenge. Because the schools are closed, I can’t access the track or jumping pit. I was trying to be creative at the park, but now the parks are closed.”

News of the cancellation hit hard, including with Paul Nicholas, a senior track athlete at West.

“If I could put my disappointment about the outcome of my senior season into words, I would,” he said. “The most I can say is that I am understanding of the situation, but wish that I could have one more season to prove myself.”

West was always a standout come postseason time. Athletes looked forward to those sunny days of competition out at Shippensburg University.

“You don’t realize you love something so much until it’s gone,” said West thrower Kevin Guevara. “I miss spring season so much because of the competitions and my teammates.

“Wish I could be throwing in competitions right now, especially since it’s my senior year and after this year I won’t be competing with all the guys anymore.”

Spring athletes tried to stay busy, but it wasn’t easy.

“The last few weeks have been a bit boring, but I’m getting used to it by now,” Katona said. “It has been great to have lots of time with my family at home keeping ourselves occupied with fun activities.

“Running has been my main activity each day to keep me busy and outside of the house. Mostly I have just had lots of time to either catch up on projects, start new ones, or find new hobbies to try.”

Katona looks forward to running next year.

“I am happy to say that I will be. I just recently committed to Division I Marist College in New York,” he said. “They have a great coach and facilities and I got to meet a good portion of the guys on the team and I am really excited to be able to take my career to the next level there.

“For me, I am lucky enough to be able to do what I love for at least another four years, but my heart goes out to not just my team, but all athletes who won’t be able to due to a season cut short.”

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