MILLBURN, NJ — For spring sport athletes, the season is the one thing that gets them through the school year. It’s what they look forward to — getting back out on the field to compete for a championship.
However, in 2020, due to the global pandemic effectively pausing all action in the world, spring athletes are being denied the one thing they work for all year.
Ben Chrizanowski, a four-year varsity starter and UMASS baseball commit, has waited his entire high school career to step onto the diamond as a senior leader of his team. Unfortunately, he might not get that chance.
Though a vital part of the team since his freshman year, Chrizanowki was in the shadows of Miller greats such as Richie Shiekoffer and Peter Serruto in years prior. His senior season was the time to be in the spotlight, but because of COVID-19, for Chrizanowski and so many more, that light may not shine, nor will the memories.
“When I first found out that part of my senior season was canceled, I was devastated that we would miss out on so many memories,” Chrizanowski said.
Senior girl’s lacrosse captain, Kelsey McCarthy is also saddened by the possibility of her senior season being canceled. After ending the 2019 season with a stellar record of 15-5, McCarthy hoped her senior year would bring a state championship to the team. But, without a timetable of return to normalcy, her new hope is to play a single game in the 2020 season.
“I’m probably more frustrated than anything," McCarthy stated. "The team was really starting to come together in preseason, and the idea of not having a senior season is really tough."
The Coronavirus may have suspended team practices, but it has not stopped the two seniors from putting in the hours. When asked how he is keeping himself ready for the season, Chrizanowski was still optimistic.
“The team and I have continued to get the work in on our own, anticipating that we will have a season,” he said. “Every day we try to get better on our own and still work towards the common goal of winning games and championships.”
McCarthy is also continuing her training in quarantine. “The best thing to do at this point is just to keep in shape and stay ahead physically instead of falling behind,” she said. “I’m still picking up my stick and doing wall ball and overall trying to stay active.”
Both McCarthy and Chrizanowski are also making sure they stay connected to their teams throughout these unprecedented times. Using group chats, they are able to talk with their teammates and keep each others’ spirits up.
“Almost every day our team has been communicating in our group chats. We are eager to get back on the field but also understand the precautions that need to be taken,” Chrizanowski said. It is safe to say that he speaks for all spring athletes, itching to get back to their sports.
If any part of the 2020 season is salvaged, all the work these athletes are putting in during the quarantine will bode well for Millburn teams. The Coronavirus may have paused the season, but it has not stopped two Miller stars from working towards their goals.
This article is part of a two-part series on how the Coronavirus is affecting Spring sports at the high school level in Millburn. Check out part one here.