MAHOPAC, N.Y. – Athletes are taught to play until they hear a whistle.

Faced with insurmountable odds, many senior high-school students have remained optimistic about their chances of getting on the field at least one more time.

But Gov. Andrew Cuomo finally blew the whistle on Friday afternoon, announcing that schools statewide are closing for the remainder of the year, erasing any hopes for an abbreviated spring sports season.

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Mahopac student-athletes and coaches shared their thoughts on the announcement:

Frank Miele, athletic director

It’s a sad day for our students since they’ve been so positive and have been so great throughout this entire situation. They have continued to train and workout at home in so many creative ways to stay optimistic with the hope to come back this season even for one game.

I can’t praise our athletes, coaches and parents enough for everything they do each and every day to be the best that they can be to represent the Mahopac community at the highest level.

It’s a sad day!

Zach Esteves, senior, boys lacrosse

I mean it really does suck not being able to get my senior season in, but I think it is the right decision to keep everyone safe. Hopefully they will try to set up a Section 1 tournament in the summer when all this is over, because I know other teams have been working as hard as we have and I think we all deserve an opportunity to compete for something.

What this means for student-athletes like myself is it’s time to focus more on school work and pray that we get something to play for in the summer. Our team will most likely be setting up a team bonding/practice when this is over to get one more opportunity to be on the field together.

Jon Bota, boys lacrosse coach

Helpless is my only feeling right now responding to a bunch of texts from seniors. It’s truly hard to try and explain. Talking with each kid leaves you with a different feeling. It seemed like all this time we were doomed, but we kept busy and kept hope anyway and the kids bought in. I pray they realize that training all this time was not a waste but I believe the way they responded to the entire situation shows the maturity and self awareness of my senior class.

It’s a big senior class, so as far as a program it’s a big hit to us not being able to see the maximum potential. Definitely not how I saw my first year coming and going, but we are trying to find any learning experience in midst of all this. For younger athletes, I don’t want to say it’s a wake-up call but I don’t think anyone will be taking anything for granted going forward. Recruiting has now become virtual which makes it tough on college coaches and kids.

As a program, we must progress and pay respects to all the seniors that worked for two, three, four years on varsity for a senior season. This class will always be remembered, and we will take the time to make sure they leave Mahopac on the rise!

Kelley Posch, track coach

This is the right decision, but that doesn't make it hurt any less. It's a sobering moment of reality in the turbulent fog of quarantine as we realize that there will not be a spring season. 

I am certainly heartbroken for all of my athletes, but especially for the seniors who get no closure to their resilient careers. I'm even more devastated for the athletes on other teams with whom we've shared the weight room all fall and winter while they prepared valiantly for their spring-season sport. 

I am humbled by this experience and it proves that competition is a privilege that we can't take for granted.

I am hopeful that returning athletes will take this lesson with them as well.

I am grateful for the positivity of my school's community in this time of challenge and uncertainty. 

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