Spring sports shelved

With Iowa governor Kim Reynolds stating on Friday, April 17, that Iowa schools would not open again this spring due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the announcement also meant the death of all 2020 spring sports.

Over the past week, I had a chance to talk to some of the area head coaches in the various spring sports and got their thoughts of the happenings this spring.

“As a coach, it is disheartening to see the dreams crushed of our senior athletes who had lofty goals this spring,” said Algona boys track head coach Gregg Wellman. “You cannot help but feel for all the kids, but especially the seniors. But everyone is healthy, so it is worth missing a season if that continues.

“There is a bigger picture to see in this world. It was probably the right thing to do, and we hope everyone comes out of this thing all right. Our team had some individuals like Samonte and Wyatt that felt they had opportunities to make some noise at the state meet and also in some relays with some fast teammates.”

Senior members of the red-and-black boys track team this season were Samonte Bawden, Jason Cecil, Sawyer Curtis, Patrick David, Andrew Hamilton, Queleb Heidelberg, Caleb Helmers, Cole Lewis, Gavin Meints, Garrett Schmidt, Brandon Steil and Wyatt Wegener.

“Obviously, it is very disappointing the way the school year ended,” said Bulldog girls track co-coach Tong Uk Yi. “But I feel this situation is bigger than all of us and it is what it is. It is especially bad for all of the seniors.

“They were looking forward to their last year of track, but what do you do? We were excited to have a chance to defend our conference title. I thought we had a good shot again this year, and it was something we were looking forward to, but it is not going to happen.”

The Algona girls track squad included four seniors this spring: Alyssa Christensen, Haley Hendrix, Sydney Hoover and Ashlin Young.

“I think it was inevitable; we knew it was probably was going to happen, but we were just hoping we were wrong,” said Bishop Garrigan boys track head coach Marty Wadle. “I think they are just trying to be as cautious as possible. Obviously, it is unfortunate, especially for the seniors, but I do not think they had much of a choice in the matter.

“For somebody like Alex it is really tough. He had some very high goals this season, and now he will not have the chance to reach them. That is the worse part of this deal. He is in the same boat as the rest of the seniors in the state this spring.”

The black-and-gold boys track team this year had just a pair of seniors in Alex Mammen and Marcus Plathe. Mammen was a state qualifier last season and placed sixth in the Class 1A in the shot put for the black-and-gold.

“It is a bummer, we were looking forward to having a really big year,” said Golden Bear girls track head coach Jared Montag. “We really thought we had a chance of winning the conference championship and making some noise down at the state meet. The kids are bummed out because they have been working hard since the quarantine started.

“They have been running and doing workouts hoping to come back on May 1st, and now that is not going to happen. Losing four seniors is a big thing, but we have some more sprinters coming up in eighth grade. Katie was a two-year state qualifier, and I felt Julia had a good shot to make state this year. This should give us some more motivation for next year.”

The Bishop Garrigan girls track squad this season featured four seniors, and they were Julia Berte, Jenna Heinen, Bailey Kollasch and Katie Noonan.

“Well obviously, it was disappointing, especially for the all the seniors that did not get to play golf or run track during their senior year, but we understand what the situation is right now,” said Bulldog boys golf head coach Mike Ford.

“I was hoping we might have a shortened season even if we played into June. It is kind of a tough deal for the seniors who were looking forward to their senior season, but it is more important that everyone stays home and is safe right now.”

The red-and-black boys golf team this spring had three seniors as members, and those young men were Cooper Arrowood, Caleb Hommez and Isaac Schonert.

“I fully understand why, and I support the why, but it is a tough deal,” said Algona girls golf head coach Mike Weier. “It is an extremely tough situation, but at the present time, it is more important for everyone to stay healthy right now.

“It is especially tough for a senior like Shaylen, who has invested a lot of time in golf in the off-season with lessons and then not being able to play this spring. She was looking forward to a big senior season as our number one golfer and had some lofty goals. To be denied without a chance to play is a tough pill to swallow.”

The Bulldog girls golf squad had just one senior this year, and she was Shaylen Knapp. She was a two-year letter winner for the squad in the last two seasons.

“At first, when they shut schools down, I thought we were probably done for the year,” said Golden Bear boys and girls golf head coach Victor Berte. “But as the season kept moving forward getting through this, I thought there was a chance we going to get to play the last month of our schedule.

“But then when the cases never started to peak, I figured what happen on Friday was probably going to happen. It was probably the right thing to do considering everything that was going on and everyone’s health.

“The boys got third last year and were looking forward to this season. Every time I saw the two seniors this winter, they were so excited about the upcoming season. I really feel bad for the two of them that they will not be able to play golf during their senior year.

“The girls were the defending state champions with four players back off that group. We did not have any seniors out this spring. I guess the positive of this, and you are always looking for positives, are that they all will be back to play in the spring of 2021.”

The black-and-gold boys golf team had two senior members this season, and they were Andrew Arndorfer and Grayson Rowlet while the Bishop Garrigan girls squad did not have any seniors.

The two other schools in the area also featured some talented seniors this spring. The North Union boys track team had a pair of seniors in Brendan Anderson and Noah Morphew. Anderson was a state qualifier in 2019 in the 200-meter dash.

The Warrior girls track squad had a total of five seniors this year: Kaitlyn Bierstedt, Mariah Martin, Brooklyn Prochniak, Hope Steinberger and Kaylee Tirevold.

Steinberger placed seventh last season in the Class 1A high jump at the state meet. Both the green-black-and-silver boys and girls golf teams did not have any seniors this spring.

The West Bend-Mallard boys track squad had five seniors this season in Michael Auten, Hunter Buhs, Thomas Fehr, Mason Link and Ian Montag while the purple-and-gold girls team had just one senior in Brook Haley.

A pair of foreign exchange students, Ludovico Maneriero and Timo Uhlig, were the only seniors on the Wolverine boys golf squad while the girls team did not feature any seniors this year.

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