While Friday's announcement felt like a formality to many spring sports athletes and coaches, the announcement still cut deep.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that schools would remain closed through the rest of the school year, and that spring sports would be canceled for the 2020 season.
Some spring athletes were hopeful a shortened season could be held. All track and field, golf, soccer and tennis seasons will be canceled across the state.
No decisions have been made yet on summer baseball and softball. Reynolds said that decision will be made by June 1.
Iowa Falls-Alden senior Chloe Fagerlind admitted she was expecting the news, but was still sad that her final season in a Cadet uniform was taken away.
"Soccer is my favorite sport. I will miss playing the game, but the biggest thing is the team bonding is what made it all worthwhile. All of the girls love to play, and that's what made it so much fun," Fagerlind said. "Once they pushed back the starting date to May 1 when we could come back, I started to think it may not happen and there wasn't going to be a season for the rest of the year. The coronavirus numbers were getting high across the United States. I understand it, but it still is disappointing."
The spring season was going to be the first for Morgan Vierkandt as head coach of the IF-A/AGWSR girls soccer program. He was going to flip roles with his mom, Jill Vierkandt, who was the previous head coach.
Vierkandt said he wanted to see the season get pushed back further and into the summer months. But that decision would have likely caused scheduling issues around the baseball/softball seasons.
"I personally think the decision was too early. The team we had was going to be by far the most fun team we've ever coached," Morgan said. "That's across all ages. We always had open gyms and started them in November. We used to get maybe five to six girls, and this group we had 20 to 25 showing up. That shows a lot of dedication, so I was looking forward to the season. It kills me they won't get the chance to play."
Fagerlind said she has been working more to take her mind off the sports situation. The IF-A senior is planning to attend Wartburg College in Waverly, where she will double major in music therapy and music education.
With the fall semester months away, Fagerlind is hopeful that her first college year will have a normal routine.
"Maybe in five years I will look back and laugh, but right now it's pretty depressing. Seniors are always excited to move on and have their last experiences in high school. I guess my class will have something to talk about for a long time," Fagerlind said.
South Hardin senior Meghan VanDePol is one of five seniors on the tennis roster. And while she the call to cancel spring sports, in the back of her mind she was hoping for at least a partial season. VanDePol was the top returning Tiger netter and was expected to be their No. 1 singles player again this year.
"It's my favorite sport," VanDePol said. "It's really hard because I was hoping for this season to be the one that I got to State. But we don't have a season."
VanDePol is also the only upperclassman out for SH softball and is hopeful she can get on the field at least one more time in black and red.
"Being the only senior and it being the very last season of sports... I hope to at least get one more go-around before it's all gone," said VanDePol.
AGWSR Boys Golf Coach Brad Hames said now that the decision is official, athletes and coaches can start to process the reality of having a season.
“Now that we don’t have to worry about it, I guess maybe I’m a little relieved too because now there isn’t that 'what if' thing hanging over our heads. But I’m definitely mostly disappointed for our kids, especially our seniors who put in three years and don’t get to see the thing at the end," Hames said.
Seniors on the AGWSR boys golf team are Riley Sicard and Tanner Weichers. Sicard said he won’t miss school, but he already misses golf.
“I can’t say I’m mad, but it’s disappointing to know you’re not able to do your final year in your final sport,” Sicard said. “I’ve been varsity since my sophomore year and I was looking forward to having a fun time. Golf is really different from anything else. Just go out there and have a good time. If you do bad, it is what it is and you get over it.”
AGWSR had high team goals of qualifying for the state meet, but now won't get the opportunity.
“We really wanted to make it to State this year,” Sicard said. “Last year we were so close. We were hoping to make that little extra jump this season. It’s disappointing.”
This is something that the Class of 2020 across the country will have in common and it just brings them all closer together as a group – and more resilient.
“I would say, as the class of 2020 we just know now not wish your school years away. Obviously you know that growing up happens so fast, but at the beginning of this it was like ‘oh cool, no school’ but now, it’s like this really sucks. I don’t get to experience everything that all the other seniors get to experience,” VanDePol said. “It just feels like everything got taken away from us so quickly without us even realizing how bad it was.”