Perry spring athletes, coaches reeling from ‘heartbreaking’ cancellation

Sean Cordy - Correspondent
Perry’s MaryLou Ledesma lines up her shot last season. This year’s spring season has been canceled because of COVID-19. PHOTO BY SEAN CORDY/THE PERRY CHIEF

The writing was on the wall.

With schools closing for the rest of the school year due to COVID-19 mitigation, spring sports are also out the window. No word has been finalized regarding the summer baseball and softball seasons (an announcement from the IHSAA is expected by June 1), but for Perry, that means no soccer, track and field, or golf.

While the shuttered doors affect everyone in the district, seniors could never have expected their last time repping their school colors was as juniors.

MaryLou Ledesma, the only four-season member on the Jayette golf team, said she remembers being a freshman anticipating what her senior season could look like.

“It’s heartbreaking,” she wrote to the Perry Chief. “I understand why they are doing this to keep people safe and healthy. I just wish I could experience my senior year the way I had imagined it when I was younger.”

She continued with thoughts to every other athlete that wanted to go to college for a spring sport, and now does not have the chance to “show one last time how amazing they are.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum, freshman Lydia Olejniczak said she was looking forward to her first season on Perry’s track team and was particularly disappointed for the senior class. Also an all-state softball selection in 2019, when posed with the idea that softball could start without fans in attendance, she said she’s “hoping for any sort of softball season” this year.

Considering the continued postponements, surrounding states closing schools through May, and summer events canceling, it was virtually guaranteed this would be the outcome. That didn’t entirely prevent teams from prepping for a season they’ll never get back.

Girls golf coach Joel Happel said his team was able to practice at the driving range and golf course, and noted that they could not practice together as to comply with social distancing standards.

Prepping for the season was not quite as simple for soccer, however.

When the spring sports season was only initially postponed in mid-March, first-year girls head coach Nathan Krohn looked to curate a playlist of training videos for his team that he had high expectations for this season.

“At the early onset of our school closure, I was communicating expectations with our team via our team chat on (the mobile app) ‘Remind,’” Krohn said. “I would send out recommended individual ball drills, body weight exercises and recommendations on cardio workouts.”

As a first-year coach, Krohn only had one official meeting with the entire team during a preseason team meeting before spring break. Almost 60 girls were in attendance, giving the team a strong base to move forward with, and a majority of which he had taught in his eighth-grade science class.

Though the bulk of his experience with his players was through the classroom, he said he had high expectations for the season after seeing about a dozen Jayettes on the roster play at the Wednesday night indoor rec league sessions this year.

“This year’s team was going to see a lot of success on the field,” Krohn said. “My only wish was for the City of Perry to get a chance to witness some of that talent those young ladies showed in the gym/winter sessions and now it is not a possibility.”