YORKTOWN, 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.
Yorktown student-athletes and coaches shared their thoughts on the announcement:
Tim O’Callaghan, senior, Yorktown boys lacrosse
It truly feels like the worst kind of nightmare, especially because there is nothing we as athletes can do to change this. I have a pit in my stomach thinking of all the incredible moments that Yorktown lacrosse has provided me, and I’m truly gutted that I won’t be able to have a farewell tour with my brothers. Lacrosse in Yorktown has always been a place where I could escape my problems and free my mind, and for that I sincerely thank my coaches and teammates. I am beyond grateful for all of the connections and friendships I have formed through lacrosse in Yorktown.
Joe Vetrano, senior, Lakeland baseball
It is absolutely heartbreaking because, like many others, I held onto the small chance that we would be back on the field. I am still in shock and just can’t believe I won’t be playing my last year with my teammates and coaches.
Noelle Cegielski, senior, Yorktown girls lacrosse
This was the most devastating thing that could’ve happened and for the majority of students not playing in college it means the end of their athletic career all together, which is absolutely heartbreaking. As for the athletes playing in college, it signifies the end of an era; the last time we are able to proudly represent our school before going on to something more. For now, all that I and other athletes can feel is sad. Our senior year was cut short, and we don’t have that one last chance to put it all on the field and bring a section title back home.
Alex DeBenedictis, senior, Yorktown boys lacrosse
It’s devastating. As a young kid, you dream of playing in front of this community. It sucks we’ll never get closure on our careers here and see how it could’ve ended. I love my teammates more than anything and I cherish every moment I got to play with them. It definitely feels surreal at the moment. But I’m happy to have gotten the opportunity to play for such a storied program. I’ll definitely miss it more than anything.
Kelsey McDonnell, senior, Yorktown girls lacrosse
I’m definitely speechless to hear the news. It is something so devastating for a senior athlete to hear. There was so much unfinished business, things left unsaid, and goals unaccomplished. I would’ve never thought that last year would be the last time i would be stepping on the field. My heart breaks for the other seniors because high school sports are truly an unforgettable experience and a family that I will forever be thankful that I was a part of.
Personally the feeling is bittersweet. I am blessed for the opportunities I was given, accomplishments I have achieved, but somber that I couldn’t have finished four years, contributed to this program as a senior, and left it all out of the field. You always hear the sayings “play like it’s your last time” and “don’t take anything for granted,” but this situation has really shown us the meaning of these statements, and will forever impact every single one of us. I am distraught at the fact that I will never get to represent Yorktown across my chest again, but forever grateful of all the memories that I have made along the way. 15 out.
Kaitlyn Bennett, senior, Yorktown softball
I was extremely disappointed after hearing today’s announcement. My family and I try to keep things in perspective and think about those who have lost loved ones. Also, the elderly living with so much anxiety and fear. This isn’t the time for me or anyone to be selfish, but that doesn’t mean we can’t wonder what could have been. I think we had an amazing softball team at Yorktown, and I was confident I’d be playing for my third sectional title in four years.
The news today also means I can’t play for my great coach and friend, Sammy Fernandez. Some of my senior teammates may never play softball again. I will never get back all the bus rides to away games, all the times we would have cranked music, and all the craziness and love that comes with being part of our family. It can really be overwhelming to think about not having these moments again. I don’t think anyone could have imagined a senior year with no school, no prom, no spring break, no sports, and probably no graduation. Most of us expected the bad news, but now that’ it’s official, it really hurts.
Sean Carney, Yorktown boys lacrosse coach
Totally heartbroken for our kids. Lacrosse players in Yorktown look forward to the spring season like no other. This group of seniors has worked so hard and we are all proud of who they are as young men! This team is truly a special group.
C.J. Riefenhauser, Yorktown baseball coach
Right now, I feel sick to my stomach for my seniors. We worked really hard this winter in the classroom, weight room, and on the field. We have a very mature senior class that definitely left their mark on this program and the culture we have built. As a first-year coach and seeing the way they “bought in” to my philosophy and how this has unfolded is unfortunate for everyone involved.
Lauren McAulay, Yorktown lacrosse coach
The recent news is heartbreaking to hear for all of us. The girls have been working so hard in the offseason, and to not be able to play together is so sad. My heart really breaks for all of the seniors. I have coached them since freshman year and have seen them grow as players and young women. I will not have not the opportunity to watch them take the field one last time.
I completely understand the decision to close the schools and know it was a difficult decision to make. It is best for the health and wellbeing of everyone, but it still hurts. We are a unified team and will continue to support each other through the challenging time that our community and country face.
To our Beloved Community: During this crisis, we can’t continue to operate entirely as we have been doing when we are only earning a fraction of our previous advertising revenue and still have to pay 100 percent of our payroll. Without that payroll, we would be unable to serve the community with the news and important information you have come to expect. If you feel that we’ve made a positive difference in your town, we ask that you send us a contribution to keep your community newspaper alive and strong by pressing on our PayPal button HERE.