PIAA cancels sports for remainder of year


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Along with the girls basketball team, which was in the midst of another PIAA title run, spring sports athletes, like Jamyson Focht, had their seasons cancelled by the PIAA due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Troy Walker, Sports Editor

Despite a very successful year in sports for the Bellwood-Antis Blue Devils, it seems as though a cloud of darkness now reigns over the 2020 sports year after the PIAA made the best possible decision in light of the COVID-19 pandemic by canceling the remainder of winter sports, and all of spring sports.

The Bellwood-Antis Lady Blue Devils were starting their state playoff run, trying to three-peat as the state champs, when the PIAA initially decided to suspend sports for two weeks on Mach 13, but then eventually canceled. The Lady Devils were preparing to compete in the quarterfinals.

“It’s really unfortunate that the season and some of our careers ended without us even knowing it, and it’s heartbreaking knowing I won’t be able to play with these girls again,” said senior Alli Campbell. “I wish we could’ve finished out the year and gotten the chance to prove that we were the best team in the state by winning our third straight. I understand, though, that the health of everyone and beating this virus is way more important than playing a basketball game.”

Seniors Alli Campbell, Emilie Leidig, Sakeria Haralson, Jaydyn Shuke, Brenin Abbot, Macy Decker and Olivia Mussleman played their final game without even knowing it when they defeated Redbank Valley on March 10. In that one, Campbell scored her 3,000th career point.

The 2020 senior class is undoubtedly the most successful Lady Blue Devils class of all time.

The Lady Blue Devils were the only remaining winter sports team competing here at B-A, and as for the spring sports, it seemed as though some promising seasons were ahead.

The Bellwood-Antis baseball team had been to two district championships in the past three years, finishing in the top four in the state in 2017 and losing in the Elite 8 of the state playoffs in 2018.

The team was returning seven starters, and strong senior class headed by South Carolina commit Travis Luensmann, who had some touching words on the subject.

“The cancellation of the season was a big let down not only for myself but for my teammates, coaches, and fans,” he said. “All of us have waited the entire school year to get to play baseball, and with the team looking the best it has since what I believe the 2003 state title team, not being able to play once, and for many of us our last time, is truly sad. The year just feels incomplete now. Losing all the chances for my last high school memories, from bus rides to parties after games with the people I’ve been around for the past 13 years, is something I’ll never get back, and is something I wish could be changed.”

The  Blue Devils softball team had a strong senior class coming back with pitcher Halee Schmidt returning after a successful 2019 campaign.  The Blue devils also returned senior leader Faith Patton, and the loss of her season really hit home.

Track is a unique sport, because of the mix of individual, and team success, and few teams in the area have had more success than B-A’s boys. It took a national pandemic to finally prevent the boys from winning the ICC.

A small senior class was looking to lead B-A, and the cancellation of the season took away the chances for people like Evan Frye, Joe Wertz and Trevor Miller to continue the B-A track legacy. “It is very unfortunate that we put in the work and competed for three years, and then it’s all just over,” said senior Trevor Miller.

The Lady Blue Devils had many key components returning, looking to continue the storied success of Head Coach Mrs. R’s track career. For Senior Jamyson Focht, it seems as though a lot of hard work and time was wasted away for many spring sports athletes.

“To me, track is more than just a sport. It helps to build determination and togetherness,” she said. “You eventually learn that you’re not just in it to beat other runners, but that your biggest competition is yourself. It was definitely devastating to hear that track season was cancelled. I was working hard in the off-season to get better and looking forward to one last year with my teammates, and it just stinks to not see everyone’s hard work pay off.”

The 2019-20 year was one filled with athletic success year found, and it’s very unfortunate that a promising spring season had to be taken away from all athletes around the world.