School closure prematurely ends last spring season for seniors

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Photo courtesy of Ava Seccuro

Alya Mehrtash managing editor

Senior athletes have been dealing with the loss of their final spring season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent closure of schools. 

Spring teams, including track and field, swimming, baseball, softball, tennis, lacrosse and golf, all had their seasons cut short after Beverly Hills Unified School District physically shut down all school facilities in March. As a result, many senior athletes have seen their final seasons in a Norman jersey come to a premature close. 

Senior softball player Maiya Masjedi was very excited about multiple aspects of her senior season, most notably senior night.

I was looking forward to continuing to build bonds with my teammates and mostly my senior night,” she said. “My senior night has been something I’ve been looking forward to since my freshman year, and it hurts the most because that has been taken away from me.”

Senior baseball player Thomas Recupero, who was hoping to make playoffs with his team and All-Ocean League in his final year, was “really looking forward to” enjoying baseball more as a second-semester senior “without the pressure of academics.”

Dealing with the loss of his final baseball season has been difficult for Recupero, as he still finds himself refusing to believe it.

“It took a while for me to fully process that COVID-19 was ending my season. A part of me still thinks we are going to resume play because I still feel like I am on spring break sometimes,” he said. “I don’t have much closure about the whole situation.”

Senior baseball player Ryan Fernandez felt the same disbelief as Recupero when he heard the news.

“I was shocked and I didn’t really believe it at first. I thought it was just going to be a rain check on our season, but when it happened I was really bummed out,” Fernandez said. 

Unlike Fernandez and Recupero, Masjedi was anticipating the cancellation. However, this did not make coping any easier for her.

“In one way, I wasn’t surprised. Once spring break started, I had a feeling that the season was coming to an early end,” she said. “But once the news broke out, I was hysterical and distraught. I don’t get very emotional, but I was definitely crying a lot that night.”

To Fernandez, the thing he misses the most is the feeling of stepping onto the field and “forgetting about everything that happened in the day. It was my way of relaxing and being in my own world,” he said.

Similar to Recupero, who misses his teammates and coaches, Masjedi misses the everyday interactions with her friends. 

“I mostly miss just being with my friends and playing the game I grew to love so much. I’ve created such close friendships with many girls on this team, and it sucks that I can’t spend my last season with them,” she said.

Her form of coping has mainly revolved around staying in touch with her teammates, including through occasional team Zoom calls. One of her main “priorities” since the end of their season has been giving her teammates and coaches a “proper goodbye” before she continues her academic career in college.

Recupero, who will begin playing football at Washington University in St. Louis in the fall, acknowledged that many senior athletes will not have the same opportunities as him to continue their athletic careers past high school.

“I have been working out and looking forward to college in the fall,” Recupero said. “Because I am going to continue playing sports in college, I have that to look forward to, but my heart really goes out to those that had to end their season and ultimately their career.”

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