ILH spring sports come to a halt due to coronavirus concerns

Chelsee Sawai, Staff Writer

The coronavirus  left the Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH) no choice but to temporarily suspend all spring sports, impacting Mid-Pacific athletic teams just a few weeks into their seasons.

“At this point, things are suspended through April 30th and ILH still hasn’t decided yet if they’re going to continue with seasons,” said athletic director Scott Wagner.

Wagner said Mid-Pacific ended all Intermediate, Junior Varsity (JV), Varsity division two and Varsity division three seasons. If the ILH comes back, the school would only have Varsity division 1 teams finish up the season.

Kamm Kojima
Player Darian Kanno pitches a ball to the opponent team during the 2019 season. Spring sports were cut short this year due to the coronavirus.

The ILH announced via Twitter that the suspension starts on March 16, causing students to wonder whether they; scored their last point, ran their last meet, or hit their last home run of the season.

Sophomore varsity baseball player Kodey Shojinaga said his  team was confident going into their season because of all the practice and drive they had.

“At first, I was kind of sad about it because we got off to a pretty good start in the season and we worked really hard during the off season but now we can’t show that hard work we put in,” he said.

The news of the suspension brought a range of emotions to athletes and their coaches.

Senior varsity volleyball player Leion Van Osdol said the abrupt stop in their season was something he and his team couldn’t believe. 

“We, as a team, were definitely all shocked and pretty heartbroken that we aren’t able to finish off what we started,” said Leion Van Osdol.

Sophomore junior varsity softball player Jasmine Allen said the effect of not participating in her sport didn’t come to her till later.

“At first, I was kind of excited because I felt it would be nice to have a good break from softball because we never get breaks, but then it started to hit me that I have nothing to do because usually I’m always busy with softball practice and games,” said Allen.

However, some saw this standstill approaching in the sport they admire, as the virus became more and more known statewide.

Judo head coach Michael Valentine said he had a cardinal rule for preparation in the event that the seasons would come to a halt.

“My job is to plan for the worst and hope for the best. My plan for the worst is we’re not going to have at least a week to two weeks of action. Hope for the best and I’ll see you on Monday,” he said.

Most Mid-Pacific sports teams finished after playing only a few games this season. (Infographic by Kamm Kojima, Staff Writer)

 

Freshman varsity two golf player Brynn Higuchi said the suspension was bound to happen because of how chaotic the coronavirus was getting.

“I kind of expected it to happen sooner or later, and then I realized I’m not going to be able to play in any more tournaments,” said Higuchi.

Many students said they are wondering if they will receive physical education credit even if the time they had with their sport was short.

“Everybody who is on a roster will get their PE credit,” said Wagner.

Realizations started to hit some as the suspension was in effect.

“I was left with a feeling of curiosity about what the season could’ve been and could we have reached our potential for 2020,” said Head Tennis coach Chanon Alcon.

Allen said she misses playing and realizes the importance of her practices and the impact they would have later on.

“This coronavirus has helped me realize how important each practice was or every practice that we’ve slacked off on or everything we’ve been taking for granted. I never would have thought how important being with my teammates would be,” said Allen.

Coaches said building team culture is something they’ll miss this year. 

“This is the first year culture is not about individuals anymore, it’s about us and that feeling of family and team was finally made today and that was taken away,” said Valentine.

Alcon said his team interacted well with one another and had evolved into such a well-bonded team when they were together.

“Within a short time, we had just begun nurturing our athletes to buy-in to our team culture, developing some chemistry and togetherness between our returning and new athletes,” he said.

Senior athletes are missing a large portion of their last season in high school because of the suspension.

“I always dreamed about having a senior night and now knowing my senior night or my whole season is probably over, it feels like my dreams are kind of crushed in a way and I wasn’t able to finish off the season the way I wanted to and say goodbye to it,” said Van Osdol.

We, as a team, were definitely all shocked and pretty heartbroken that we aren’t able to finish off what we started.”

— Leion Van Osdol

One senior parent said he is equally as disappointed about the loss of the final season for their children.

“They started out the season really well this year and it was difficult in those few last days to realize that they would not be able to finish out the season,” said Billy Van Osdol, father of senior athlete Leion Van Osdol.

Seniors from all sports have the sympathy and support from other coaches.

“Just thinking about them and the hard work they put in, I feel for them that they can’t fulfill their goals this year ” said track and field head coach Rick Hendrix.

A big tradition for seniors each year is senior night for the sports they play, receiving support from their friends and family.

“I think it was more devastating for the parents and the families to know that after all this time of my son playing volleyball that we were not able to watch his entire senior year and be there for his senior night,” said Billy Van Osdol.

Several sports have made home workout videos for athletes to watch, keep active and stay on top of their training till the end of the suspension.

“What we did is we continued giving them a workout during the year, the ones that wanted to still participate, and we acted like it’s still the season,” said Hendrix.

Distance training is now being provided to students at home and can be accessed by going to the MyPueo Athletic Resource Page. It has videos of Wagner demonstrating workouts on parts of campus for students to still have connection to Mid-Pacific.

“If we just sit on the couch for the next month, things aren’t going to go well when we start our sports up again so it’s a way to keep active, it’s a way to increase strength and cardiovascular endurance,” said Wagner.

Athletes hope they can reconnect with their teammates and be with one another once the suspension is lifted.

“I hope that once this coronavirus is dying down, we could all get together, reconnect, strengthen our bonds, become a better community, and just pick up where we left off,” said Allen.

Scott Wagner, Mid-Pacific Athletics Director