RANDOLPH NJ-- With Randolph HS spring sports currently on hold because of COVID-19 closures, sidelined athletes anxiously await word from the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association’s (NJSIAA), among others, as to whether or not they will be able to enjoy a late-start 2020 spring season or none at all. In the meantime, both coaches and athletes remain hopeful, continuing home-based training programs for athletes and keeping the team spirit alive by sharing positive messages among teammates.
“We are training individually but trying to still motivate each other,” said senior Kylie Domalewski, who plays girls’ lacrosse. “There have been players taking over the Randolph lax Instagram account for the day. We get to see all the different workouts and wall ball routines that everyone is doing. As a team and a program, we are all trying to remain very hopeful that we will have a season.”
RHS baseball coaches, including varsity head coach Mark Rizzi, have been doing their best to help their athletes stay strong and motivated during this tough time. Rizzi has stayed in contact with and supportive of his team, continuing to create a training schedule of for his athletes and make sure college recruitment opportunities remain available to them.
“They have been doing as much as they can at home to remain in shape,” Rizzi explained of his players. “All three levels were given a strength and conditioning program as well as position and hitting drills.
Rizzi also emphasized the importance of helping student athletes maintain a strong mindset, noting that it has had a great effect on students, athletes, workers, and parents.
“I think their mental state is more important, so we’ve kept them engaged with video chats and are now including guests to provide college recruiting information,” Rizzi added.
As for track and field, both the girls’ and boys’ teams enjoyed a successful winter season, and they are reportedly hoping to continue being able to rack up more remarkable achievements in the spring.
“After winning the County Indoor Championships our girls’ team was poised to continue that success during the outdoor season,” said Kevin Higgins, who coaches the girls’ team. “Hopefully that opportunity will still come.” With fingers crossed for a potential season, the girls have been taking this time to further develop their skills and continue to train.
“The guys have, for the most part, been very understanding of the situation we're in and have impressed me in how focused they have stayed, working very hard to keep track and field a part of their everyday lives,” added Luke Suttile, the boys’ track and field coach.
Suttile noted he is thankful for the hard work and understanding his team has shown during this time. Despite everything that has prevented these athletes from competing this season, they strive to keep running.
David Hutchinson, the athletic director at Randolph High school, has worked hard to keep students and coaches updated on the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic NJSIAA’s latest news concerning the potential spring season.
“If we return to school this year, the NJSIAA has suggested two potential plans,” Hutchinson explained. “There is a plan that includes the possibility of state tournaments, if we return before Memorial Day. If we return after Memorial Day, the second plan would not include state tournaments.”
Looking ahead to the fall sports, Hutchinson mentioned that NJSIAA needed to get a clearer picture of what would happen this spring before determining the fate of fall sports.
Of course, RHS seniors are also bracing for the worst, the potential loss of their last season playing sports for the high school. As Brittany Brian, varsity head coach for girls lacrosse, put it, “As a former athlete, I can't imagine having my season postponed indefinitely and/or cancelled. My heart breaks for our seniors Julia Babyak, Leila Cromartie, Kylie Domalewski, and Jordyn Kushel.”
Despite the current state of limbo for spring sports, it’s important to recognize these athletes and coaches for this optimism, hard work, and determination during their spring season, even if they aren’t competing just yet.
Olivia George is an RHS student participating in a journalism program with TAP into Randolph.