The lost spring seniors: COVID-19's impact on Sumter, Clarendon, Lee high school athletes, Part II


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Senior athletes in spring sports have lost out on most of their final high school seasons because of the coronavirus, so The Sumter Item wanted to hear from them about what that lost spring means to them. The Item will be running this series over the next several editions to give them a voice during their lost spring.

Matthew Dailey - Thomas Sumter baseball

"This season meant a lot, not only to the seniors on the team but everyone. Coming off a rough past season, we were excited to come out strong this season with a new coaching staff. Our coaches were getting us prepared for the season like no other coaches ever have and we were confident in this year’s season with new players, better chemistry, and a new head coach. We practiced every day until we got every drill and swing down to perfection. This season was going to be the turnaround season of Thomas Sumter baseball but it was cut short. It is crazy how something you’ve trained for your whole life can be stripped away from you in the matter of seconds. Baseball is a huge part of my life but it’s not everything. There’s things out there that are bigger than baseball such has keeping our community safe and I’m just thankful that I was blessed with the ability to play baseball and the opportunities I was given. I would like the thank my teammates, coaches, and trainer for making this a great 4 years for me, and I wouldn”t trade my experiences and what I Have learned for anything."

Zaria Stephens - Lakewood track and field

“Losing my senior track and field season has been heartbreaking. I feel as if everything I’ve been working hard for these past years have been wasted. I knew in my heart that this season was going to be MY season. I just knew it. I was working hard at practice and outside of practice. I didn’t even play a fall sport just to put in that extra work for track season and all of that had been taken away from me . Every morning I wake up and see my track bag in the corner & say to myself ‘My season is really over.’”

Madison Ragan - Crestwood softball

"To me, losing my spring season of softball means missing out on yet another one of my 'lasts'. Playing the game has not only brought me pure joy, but has taught me lessons along the way. I would be lying if I said I was not going to miss getting my clothes as dirty as I could, the adrenaline rush after hitting the ball, and even the constructive criticism from the coaches. All of that, making me into the player I was the last time stepping onto the field. Playing the sport always had a way of easing everything else that went on outside of those gated fences. With this season being cut short, I will never get to proudly wear my school's name across my chest, one last time. I will never get to step on to the softball field as a Lady Knight softball player, one last time. Next time, I will have to buy a ticket which is crazy to even think about. "You're going to miss this," never sounded like a lie to me. All just happening in the blink of an eye, COVID-19 robbing 2020 graduates of all our final goodbyes.”

May Rogan - Clarendon Hall softball

"Losing this season is like losing a little piece of my heart. I have played softball for many years and have had the opportunity to play under Coach Jeffery Bays for majority of my school years. Our team was such a close group it was like family. We cheered each other on during games so loud it felt like the dugout was shaking. We bonded during softball practice laughing and talking about things we have done at school or in the past game. Our bus rides to games were always my favorite when we would sing to the top of our lungs and braid hair. Softball was my escape from things going on in and out of school, it was like therapy to play the game I love the most, surround by incredible people. Memories like these I will cherish forever. I’m extremely saddened I will not have my Senior season memories as I had dreamed about.”

Barrett Conner - Sumter boys soccer

“Losing this Soccer Season really hurts me because it was the one thing I was looking forward to all year long and we didn’t get to play many games. We were just starting to make a bond as a team and this virus is like a toxic person who ruins bonds. This season meant everything to me and now I can’t do anything about it.”