For Bulldogs, sports season delay hits hard

Apr 3, 2020

With schools closed until May 4 and the sports season not allowed to start until then, spring athletes are trying to process what it means to train by themselves for their last season as a Bulldog knowing well that their season will most likely not even start.

This dashes dreams for athletes like senior mid-distance runner Tova Brickley who sought to qualify for states as an individual runner after competing in a relay with her teammates at that level last year.

Brickley ran spring track for all four seasons, ran cross country for three seasons, and competed in every season for the last two years. 

After recovering from a shin splint injury, she was excited to see what she could run in the spring.

Looking back on it, Brickley said she “would’ve appreciated my winter season if I had known that it would be my last season.”

Bill Tilden, Old Rochester Regional High School’s Athletic Director and boy’s track and field coach, said that he expects that it will be longer before students and coaches can return to practice.

Tilden said he knows that every coach “is dying to get to work,” but the major dilemma is that coaches can’t hold formal practices or give athletes formal training routines until school is in session. 

The challenge now is to have coaches and teachers motivate their athletes to stay in shape in the interim. 

Tilden said he knows some of his track athletes will take initiative and work out on their own, but that it’s a challenge to have everyone do something.

One of the students that has been working out is senior boys lacrosse defensemen, Dylan DeWolf. Now in his second year on the team, he has been running, doing body weight training and maintaining a healthy diet while at home.

An athlete who has played both lacrosse and football for ORR, DeWolf said that “sports are just not the same” anymore and he’s sad that he may miss his last spring season. 

Last year, the boys lacrosse team won their conference and players wanted to build on that this year. But now there’s a chance tournament play may not even happen.

The MIAA voted on March 30 that tournament play will not pass the sectional level for any sport and set a season cutoff date for June 27, barring if students return to school at all.

Brickley said that she wasn’t surprised by the MIAA’s decision, but “it hasn’t fully set in that I won’t have a season.”

She also said that she will miss the community she found on the track team.

She misses how everybody is friends with each other and being able to workout together each day at practice.

“We never had the chance to react to this together,” said Becker.

And while it will be hard for her to leave, Brickley also knows that it will be hard for underclassmen to watch her and other seniors leave without a goodbye.

As someone who looked up to upperclassmen she knows “how upset they are to have this season to be their last with the seniors.”

Looking to the future, Tilden hopes that athletes will be able to play so that, at the very least, the juniors looking to be recruited by college coaches will have a chance to record gameplay footage.

DeWolf and Brickley hope that they will be able to compete once more before they hang up their bulldog uniforms for good.