By KELLEN STEPLER
A year ago, Chambersburg baseball player Brandon Kissinger and the rest of the Trojan baseball team were playing a game at Greene Township Park.
Now, he’s doing nothing.
He’s physically cleared to play, and he’s not in trouble, or anything. But the COVID-19 outbreak has caused major changes in everybody’s life, including local athletes.
On March 24, the Chambersburg Area School District athletic department put out a statement saying, “All athletic-related activities, including events, formal/informal practices, and booster club activities, are now suspended indefinitely.”
The statement came a day after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced schools would be closed for an additional two weeks. On March 30, he announced that schools were closed indefinitely.
As of now, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) has suspended the beginning of the spring sports season, but hasn’t canceled the season – yet. The winter championships in basketball and Class 2A swimming are also still suspended.
So, for high school seniors across the Keystone State, it’s a waiting game.
“I’ve been trying to do different drills, to stay in the swing of things,” Kissinger said. “It sucks being my senior year. It’s hard – we worked hard in the offseason, and (the regular season) was so close. We’ve been robbed of our senior year.”
Kissinger echoed similar statements made by other high school seniors across the commonwealth.
Emi Curico, a senior softball player at Frazier High School in Fayette County, started a petition asking the PIAA to postpone, rather than terminate the spring sports season. Currently, her petition has 67,790 signatures.
“It’s a greater situation than just high schoolers playing sports,” Kissinger said. “We have to just stay positive and take it one day at a time.”
However, the infielder said he is hopeful that the season still could be salvaged.
“If school opens back up, we could play a modified schedule and find a way to make up games,” Kissinger said. “My sophomore year it snowed, and things got pushed back. But we still got all our games made up.”
Kissinger will plans to attend York College or Bloomsburg University to study management. He does not intend to play baseball in college.
“You’ve put in so much work, effort and time into a program to get where you are,” Kissinger said. “All the work you’ve put in is for nothing, now. The timing of this is awful.”
Senior softball player Taylor Myers entered the season just one hit away from breaking the Chambersburg school career record for hits.
Now, she might not get there.
If that happens, she will be tied with Leah Hunt for the record with 114 hits. Ironically, both reached that number in three years of playing.
“Hopefully, I get the opportunity to achieve that,” Myers said.
Myers has been on the varsity squad since her freshman year. During her career, the team has been to the state playoffs twice, won the District 3 and Mid Penn Commonwealth Division titles once and she was named to the all-state team last year.
“It’s upsetting,” Myers said. “We didn’t even get a scrimmage in, so we haven’t played at all. It is my senior season, and we have no idea if it is going to be taken or not, but I’m trying to stay positive.”
The softball team was ready to live up to its storied tradition this season. According to Myers, the team had the ability to compete in the state playoffs.
“I am very hopeful there will be a season,” Myers said. “We have worked too hard in the offseason and the beginning of this season to let it slide.”
The outfielder will continue her softball career at Shippensburg University, where she plans to study elementary education.
Tyeshawn Worrell’s heart dropped when he received a text from Trojan boys track coach Bob Walker saying that the spring sports season was suspended.
“I didn’t really believe it at first,” Worrell said. “I was really shocked.”
The sprinter had high hopes for his senior season. Last year at districts, he placed second in the 100-meter dash and was on a squad that won the 4 x 100 meter relay. At states, he placed third in the 100, fourth in the 4 x 100 relay and third in the 4 x 400 relay.
“My goal is to be a state champ in three events (100, 200 and 4 x 100),” Worrell said.
While the PIAA has yet to cancel the season, Worrell said he’s not sure that a spring sports season could happen.
“The cases keep rising in Pennsylvania,” Worrell said. “At this point, I doubt it.”
Worrell has been making the most of his time off during the quarantine.
“I’ve been doing some individual work; lifting, jogging,” Worrell said. “I’ve also been focusing on schoolwork.”
Post-graduation, Worrell plans to continue his athletic and academic career at Kutztown University, where he will play football, run track and study business management.
“My message to seniors is to keep your head high, and stay positive,” Worrell said.
Senior boys volleyball player Colton Wright called the situation “a part of life getting taken away.”
“I’m devastated,” he said. “I’ve waited for it all year, and now it can’t happen.”
Wright said he tries to stay hopeful for a resurrected season, but just doesn’t see it happening.
“I’m probably less hopeful than others,” Wright said.
This would be Wright’s third season on the varsity team, and he was named co-captain of the squad this year.
“As seniors, it was something we looked forward to,” said Wright, who plans to attend Duquesne University in the fall. “I had big hopes for the season.”
Fellow co-captain and senior Alex Lapinski shared similar sentiments.
“I’m obviously not thrilled,” Lapinski said. “It’s not just a game; you’ve built a bond with your teammates. I’ve looked forward to this.”
Lapinski, who plans to attend Penn State University in the fall and hopes to play club or intramural-level volleyball in college, said he is still hopeful for a spring sports season.
“I’ll play the season in the summer (if we have to),” Lapinski said.