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2020-21 was interesting to say the least for high school athletes

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A year ago around this time, there were so many unanswered questions about high school sports.

The COVID-19 pandemic has canceled spring sports, which were heartbreaking for seniors in track and field, baseball, softball and tennis, not to mention wrestlers qualified for the state meet or basketball teams on their way to play in the state tournament. I still feel so bad for these athletes and can’t imagine how they felt after losing their seasons.

It was like a punch in the stomach.

Tom wilson

As we headed into the summer, until the beginning of August, the questions persisted: were we going to have sports in high school starting in the fall? Governor Mike DeWine demanded that we all wear masks. To be honest, I was skeptical at the time because I thought there was no way with these orders in place they would allow high school kids to play sports.

Thank goodness I was wrong, although with the new restrictions in place, as athletes had to wear masks on the sidelines when not playing, fans attending matches had to wear masks and participation of fans was limited.

Before I go any further, I must thank the high school administrators, athletic directors, coaches and, most importantly, the athletes themselves. What they all had to endure throughout the past year has not been easy.

However, the most important thing was that they had the chance to play and compete, and I had the chance to cover them.

Whenever I even thought about complaining about the restrictions and having to wear a mask, I immediately checked myself out and thought of those athletes who lost their seasons a year ago and that quickly put things in perspective for me.

When it was finally announced that fall sports would take place in mid-August of last year, it was a big sigh of relief for everyone. The regular football season was condensed into six games and each team qualified for the playoffs. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but it didn’t matter that the teammates were going to be able to see each other after more than two months of training alone at home, they were just happy to be back. with their teammates and coaches.

Looking back and taking stock of my thoughts a year ago today, I think about how grateful I am. How wonderful to see high school athletes on the playing field again. Then I think about what if they canceled sports last school year?

Well, if they had, I wouldn’t have seen so many outstanding performances from our athletes and teams and the memories they were able to create.

Think about it a bit. If sports had been canceled, these are some of the things we wouldn’t have been able to see in the last sports season in high school. I cannot list everything, but there are a few that stood out for me.

Bloom-Carroll football reached the Division IV semifinals, losing to Mentor Lake Catholic, 17-10, at Woody Hayes Quaker Stadium in New Philadelphia.

Bloom-Carroll’s great run to the state football semifinals and Fairfield Union’s Madison Eyman finished in the top three at the cross country competition and state track and field championships.

The Lancaster boys’ basketball team won double-digit games for the first time in over 10 years and several wrestlers who qualified for the state wrestling meet. The Berne Union women’s basketball team have won back-to-back league and district titles, of which Bella Kline became the all-time top scorer – for boys and girls – in the history of school.

I think of the exceptional play of Liberty Union sophomore Abbie Riddle, who led the Lions to the District Championship game, and Bloom-Carroll rookie Emily Bratton, who burst onto the scene for have an incredible season. Bloom-Carroll’s Evan Dozer came out on top and had a remarkable year for the Bulldogs basketball team.

Madison Eyman of Fairfield Union capped a distinguished career winning Ohio honors in cross country and track and field.

Brock Unger of the Berne Union surpassed 1,000 points for his career and helped the Rockets win their third consecutive District Championship game and Mason Purvis of Millersport surpassed the 1,000 point mark.

We wouldn’t have seen Liberty Union’s Jimmy Rhoads break the Division II pole vault record or the Lions’ Jacob Miller, who is ranked among the nation’s top high school pitchers, struck out 20 batters in a game. and followed it a week later with 21 strikeouts.

The Lancaster softball team broke the state record for most successful home runs a season with 62, and speaking of the Lady Gales, they won a district title and were coached by senior Emma Burke who had 17 homers and 50 points, also remarkable. First-year pitcher Reese Poston has had a stellar season in the Lady Gales circle.

Bloom-Carroll junior pitcher Lexi Paulsen, an Ohio State engagement, showed she was one of the state’s top pitchers when she hit 18 in the district semifinals and followed by another 18 strikeout performance in the District Championship game. She also surpassed the 500 career strikeout mark during the regular season.

Liberty Union junior Jacob Miller, ranked among the nation's top pitchers, has had an exceptional season.  He clocked a career-high 20 strikeouts against Amanda-Clearcreek and followed it a week later by striking out 21 batters in a seven innings game against Circleville.

Finally, what a year it was for high school baseball in Fairfield County. Four teams – Bloom-Carroll, Lancaster, Liberty Union and Fisher Catholic – won the district championships. The Lions have reached the regional final, while Bloom-Carroll, led by a group of talented players, whose unrelated pitchers Joshua Moore and Logan Moore lead the way. Bloom-Carroll was second in Division II after losing heartbreak, 2-1 in 10 innings to Akron Hoban.

There were so many other accomplishments that I could have listed, but I think you see the picture. Again, imagine if we hadn’t had an athletic season in high school, nothing would have happened?

As we move into a new high school season in the coming weeks, it looks like things are almost back to normal. If I’ve learned anything, it’s to live in the moment and never take anything for granted. Cherish the ability to play sports because you never know when everything can be taken off.

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740-681-4358

Twitter: @ twil2323


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