Senior season gone

Grove City’s outstanding pitcher Lizzie Malczak fires a pitch to the plate last season. Malczak, like other area seniors will miss out on a chance for a big final year. 

WITH Governor Tom Wolf first suspending school for two weeks in March and then canceling in-person classes for the duration of the 2019-20 academic year last week, the Class of 2020 has been dealt a pretty crummy hand over the past month.

No amount of sympathic words from me can provide any solace in trying times like these, but the one thing I can do is give this year’s senior athletes some well deserved ink for their efforts and committment to their respective programs over the past 4 years.

With that being said, let’s take a second to honor the Class of 2020 who never got the opportunity to don their school’s jersey for one last time this spring ....

GROVE CITY BASEBALL — Lance Craig, David Dennis, Ty Długonski, Jack Donahue and Ben Munley.

“This 2020 squad was eager and ready for this season,” Eagles coach Billy Herman said. “We were looking to get back to the 2018 league and district championship level that this group played a role in as sophomores. As a team of 35 led by these five seniors, we were confident and ready for the 2020 campaign. I am saddened that their baseball careers had to come to a close like this, but I am confident that all five of our graduating seniors are going to be successful moving forward.”

GROVE CITY BOYS’ TENNIS — Nick Arnhold, Joey Colapietro, Jeff Green, Alex Rihel and Cameron Freehling.

“It certainly is a set of unfortunate circumstances,” Eagles coach Shawn Sowers said. “I was really looking forward to their senior year being a successful one. This group was extremely coachable, always looking to get better each day. They were poised to lead us to more wins than a year ago. They are all fine young men and we’ll miss them.”

GROVE CITY SOFTBALL — Delaney Barr, Lizzie Malczak, Becca Scears and Hayley Wilson.

“This class was driven to succeed and get better every year,” GC coach Dave Gatewood said. “They were the force that made the players around them better and in doing that, they shared in the success of the Grove City softball program. We will miss them and their personalities. I wish them the best in the future.”

GROVE CITY TRACK — Simon Beck, Paige Bluedorn, Eleanor Chuzie, Nick Covert, Emma Isenberg, Toby Jones, Connor McEwen, Christiana Melvin, Cyndal Murray, Alec Nero, Jake Reddick, Zoe Rhoades, Josh Roach, Marie Schultz, Aleana Smiley, Joseph Somora, Samuel Stanton, Jimmy Timko and Sydney Wise.

“This senior class stepped onto the track in seventh grade at the same time I became the head track and field coach at Grove City,” coach Ben English said. “The success of this program has a lot of people to thank but none more important than these athletes. They led by example and have set up the program to continue to be successful in the future. We would not be where we are today without the 2020 seniors. I wish you nothing but the best in your future endeavors and thank you for your influence and dedication to this program.”

LAKEVIEW BASEBALL — Brett Beith, Billy Devereaux, Joey Katavitch, Nate McIntire, Trent Milliren, Jared Obreza, Brandon Partridge, Bryson Reith and Kenny Yarnell.

“This is a year that we were looking forward to for a long time,” veteran Sailors skipper Bill Beith said. “I have been involved with this group of kids in one way or another since they were in T-ball. Last year, we made it to the District 10 Championship game and this year we returned the Region Player of the Year (Brett Beith) and the Region Pitcher of the Year (Milliren). In addition to those two, we returned many others that contributed to our success last year. As coaches, we felt that we got to the (D10) championship a year sooner than we thought we would. With this group, not only has it been a pleasure to watch them play but to see what kind of great young men they have become! I would also like to thank the senior parents. This group has been very instrumental in helping to make our facility one of the nicest fields in District 10.”

LAKEVIEW SOFTBALL — Madyson Booher, Jaina Bowmer, Zoe Kepner, Makayla Schell, Rebekah Powell and Victoria Watts.

“These six players have been with me since I started coaching the Junior High program at Lakeview when they were in eighth grade,” Lakeview coach Alan Hermann said. “What a great group of players with a tremendous amount of talent! (We) were looking forward so much for this year and to have it taken just like that was just terrible! As I always told these girls on the field when things went bad, keep looking forward and don’t look back! Bigger and better things are ahead for them. I wish the best to all of them.”

LAKEVIEW TRACK — Mckinley Barish, Dante Borden, Burton Brocklehurst, Luke Hostetler, Doug Maxwell, Logan McFadden, Crystal McGowan, Marissa McLaughlin, Claire Oliver, Dalton Pears, Cole Thiec and Austa Reed. 

“I’m praying for these seniors — not just ours but at all the schools across the country,” Lakeview coach Ryan Harold said. “They’re stuck at home and are going through some hardships right now that you never could’ve dreamt of. I try to tell them to take it day by day even though we’re not in control of what’s going on. We can stay in control of staying positive. These kids never (got) the opportunity to be out there on the track and not (getting) to fulfill their championship runs. It’s devastating ... just heartbreaking.”

MERCER BASEBALL — David Ellis, Dylan Mattocks, Tanner McElrath and Austin Smith.

“When it comes down to it, these boys helped me endure my first year as head coach at Mercer last year,” Mustangs coach Geoff Sanner said. “I was really excited to see exactly what they could bring to the field this year. Unfortunately, that wasn’t able to happen. What I can tell you is each and every one of them have very bright futures and have shown growth since I met them. They have done a tremendous job of helping build a winning culture for Mercer baseball. For that, I can’t thank them enough. I wish I could have one more game with them. I will miss you all.”

MERCER SOFTBALL — Jenna Burkhart, Bethany Jones and Rachel Snow.

“These seniors have have been on the team since their freshman year,” Mercer coach Jack Trott said. “They have seen some good times and they have seen some bad times but through it all they never quit they were there giving it their all. Jenna Brurkhart was a 3-year letterwinner. Rachel and Bethany were working on their first letters. These girls were a pleasure to coach and be around these last four years.”

MERCER TRACK — Logan Conner, Sarah Coryea, Elizabeth Fedorchak, Emalee Hostetler, Ryan Moore, Aubrey Simcek and Evan Stevenson.

“Although all of these athletes compete in other sports throughout the year, track and field for these seniors was supposed to be that most memorable athletic season,” Mercer coach Mike Morneweck said. “I was heartbroken seeing tears in the eyes of a small group of girls as I told them that it was likely that their season would be cancelled. I feel cheated and I know that these guys do too. They all deserve these last few months of their senior years with so many activities that will not happen for them. They are feeling a great loss. My heart goes out to all of the seniors and especially those that are athletes. Stay strong, stay fit, stay healthy. Good Luck Seniors!”

SLIPPERY ROCK BASEBALL — Walker Allison, Ian Balquist, Michael Bortmas, Zach Caldwell, David Duffalo, Zach Thompson and Nathaniel Willison.

“My first group that we had for 4 years,” Rockets coach Fred Pryor said. “The best quote I have ever heard ... ‘A coach was asked before his season how his team was going to be. He responded by saying I don’t know ask me in 10 years.’ One thing I know about this group is they will be successful in whatever they choose to due in life. Great group of young men on the field and in the classroom!”

SLIPPERY ROCK SOFTBALL — Taylor Balint, Alex Frazier, Julia Hart, Annika Peale and Chloe Sommers.

“They are five athletes who we were excited to have as freshman and were excited about their senior season,” Slippery Rock coach Dan Hindman said. “They have stayed committed to our sport. In the two weeks we were able to work out, as coach, I saw much improvement and thought we were on our way to a rebound year due to, in large part, their efforts. All 5 athletes accepted any role that was presented and did well with it, which says a lot about their character. This year, they were the next girl up and they were on their way to accepting that role. Our team was gelling nicely with their leadership. They were five girls you could count on this time of year.”

SLIPPERY ROCK TRACK — Joe Aloiso, Will Aspinall, Anthony Bedel, Jada Butler, Alyssa Dalmagro, Ryan Davey, Noah Hemmerlin, Nathan Hyatt, Isabella Lindey, Taylor Palmer, Harley Pflugh, Leah Pollard, Zach Marini,  Mitch McCleary, Keaton Meredith, Robie Miller, Jesse Sheakley, Gabe Smithbauer, Jonathon Thompson, Alexis Vajda and Blake Whittenberger.

“This was the largest amount of senior boys we have had in years,” Slippery Rock coach Tom Meling said. “We would have been strong in the sprints (chance to break the 4 x 100 record) and strong in the throws (chance to break the jav record). 

“Not near as many girls graduating. Thankfully both Alyssa and Harley will have an opportunity to compete at the D-2 level next year. Several of the seniors were competing for the first time or after a long lay-off. The team would have been a tough one to beat.”

Ladies and gentlemen, let me close by saying that it’s been an absolute pleasure to watch you blossom as student athletes these past four years and I wish you nothing but the best as you embark on the next chapters of your lives.

Thanks for the memories!

COREY J. CORBIN is a sports correspondent for The Allied News. He can be reached at gcsportsguy@yahoo.com.

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