WHS senior captains and head coaches reflect on Coronavirus postponements

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Photo by Varsity Vantage

The 2019 girls lacrosse team

Caroline Dwyer, R1 Sports Editor

On March 13, Westfield Public Schools (WPS) Superintendent Dr. Margaret Dolan announced through an email to parents and staff that all WPS would be closed until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This announcement was especially devastating to the spring sports team at WHS, as the cancellation of school also meant the postponement of all athletic events. With a final year in a Blue Devil uniform on the line, Hi’s Eye reached out to senior captains as well as their head coaches from each team to gather feelings about the uncertainty surrounding their impending seasons.

Boys Baseball Team: Senior Co-Captain Danny Kohler

“I can speak for all of the seniors on the baseball team when I say that it’s definitely upsetting that there’s a chance our season is canceled. We’ve put in so much work over the past four years to get to this point and it’s sad that it could be stripped away from us because of Coronavirus. We’re all hoping that this passes over quickly, and we’ll have the opportunity to play one final season.”

Girls Lacrosse Team: Senior Co-Captain Mikaela Buoscio

“Initially when I learned that all spring sports were postponed at WHS, I was devastated. It was hard to hear that my last season as a Blue Devil could potentially be over. My mind was racing about the worst-case scenarios: lacrosse ending, the whole school year being cut short, prom and graduation getting canceled. I felt most sad thinking about my fellow seniors, having played alongside them since the beginning. Then, I put things into perspective and changed my mindset. We don’t know what’s going to happen; nothing is finalized. It’s entirely out of our control what happens. I’m focusing on staying positive and keeping my teammates’ spirits up. We just have to keep our heads up and hope for the best.”

Boys Tennis Team: Senior Co-Captain Nick Forno

“I haven’t let myself think that our season could be completely canceled yet because it would ruin my spirits even more during this already hard time. I don’t want to accept the possibility that I will never play tennis again because there’s still a chance for a reduced season. I still believe there will be a chance for senior spring athletes to have one last ride. I hope there’s something to be salvaged for all of the spring sport teams following this crisis.”

Girls Track and Field Team: Senior Co-Captain Alexis Hammer

“It’s really unfortunate that Coronavirus is postponing the Track and Field season as well as all spring sports at WHS, but I’m trying to make the most of it. Even though some meets like Penn Relays have already been canceled, hope still remains for the latter half of our season. As a senior captain, I’ve put a lot of work into this sport both on and off the track, and it upsets me that I might not be able to finish my last season with my team. Last year, our spring season was difficult because Kehler was being renovated, so I was really looking forward to Blue Devil Classic and practicing on our new track this year. Even though I’ve still been trying to go on runs, without a track and my teammates practicing by my side, it’s not the same. I really hope that there will at least be some of the season left so I can enjoy the end of my running career with my amazing teammates, co-captains, and coaches.”

Boys Lacrosse Team: Senior Co-Captain Reid Colwell

“I was both angry and sad to hear the news about the postponement of our season, but I still feel that there’s a chance we will play again. If it does ultimately come down to the cancelation of our season, it would be extremely tragic because our senior class has worked so hard; we’ve been playing with each other since the second grade and for our final season to play together to be potentially canceled is really upsetting to think about.”

Girls Golf Team: Senior Co-Captain Remi Shendell

“I think that it was necessary to postpone spring sports; stopping the outbreak is obviously most important and it’s clear that social distancing will help. However, it’s really sad to potentially miss the final season because I felt really good about all of our plans for the season, both socially and with the success of the team. Our coach is working on making online workouts for us on Zoom, but I’m going to miss the bus rides to matches and the adrenaline of my last high school sports season.”

Boys Volleyball Team: Senior Co-Captain Etan Zeller MacLean

“Possibly missing the season I would be a captain is definitely a bummer. I was on the first boys volleyball team Westfield had ever had, and I had made it all the way to being captain this year. It felt like it was my chance to leave a mark both on the program and some of the talented underclassmen who would eventually take over. In all honesty, I feel a lack of closure; I’m not able to finish what I took part in starting.”

Boys Golf Team: Head Coach Ryan Daly

“We aren’t happy about the situation of our season being suspended but all of us realize that this is a situation where the community comes first. We’ve always believed in service and right now, the best thing we can do to serve our fellow citizens is stay home and social distance. We’re hopeful for a modified season and will be preparing to play even though we don’t know if it will happen. One positive for our players is that with our game, you can play competitively at any stage of your life. We certainly feel for all the spring athletes and seniors, but we hope that the country will become healthy and safe as soon as possible, and we are prepared to do our part.”

Girls Softball Team: Head Coach Becky Antonelli

“When I first found out that the virus would shut down spring sports for a while, I was extremely disappointed. I was disappointed for the girls because I know how hard they work in the off-season and how excited they were for the upcoming season. I was disappointed for my coaching staff because I know we worked hard in the off-season to prepare as well. I have to say that I’m trying to be as optimistic as possible at this point for both myself and the girls. I’m super hopeful that we will get a little bit of our season; I know that if we go back, the girls and I will be ready. As for the seniors, I feel terrible that their final softball season at WHS might come to an end quicker than we thought. Each one of our seniors has their own specific role on our team and I’m hopeful that I will be able to see that.”

Boys Track and Field Team: Head Coach Christopher Tafelski 

“As a coach, it’s really important to emphasize that we can only control certain things and that’s where we need to commit our time and attention. Leadership is best demonstrated when things are not going according to plan. I know that senior year is special; I’m not downplaying that. But we need the seniors to model how to carry yourself when things aren’t going your way. It’s possible that these guys won’t be able to compete this spring. But they can still improve the program, and that will strengthen us in the future. This is always the time of year to talk with seniors about their legacy, their impact on their younger teammates, their impact on the program. How will they be remembered? That conversation doesn’t change in this situation. If anything, it’s more important this season than any other. If it does play out that we lose the entire spring, I will feel terribly for these kids. Some of these guys have been with us for 4, 8, even 12 seasons. To not be able to finish on your own terms is very difficult, but there can still be constructive things to be gained.”