HomeSportsSMHS Seniors Mourn Loss of Final Season

SMHS Seniors Mourn Loss of Final Season

An announcement in March that the San Marino Unified School District might re-open its COVID-closed campuses on May 5 kept the door slightly ajar for local high school athletes.
But last week’s announcement from CIF Commissioner Rob Wigod, canceling the remainder of the spring sports season, shut out any hopes of resuming the campaign, including the highly anticipated CIF Southern Section playoffs.
The news was especially harsh for many of San Marino High School’s seniors, who had placed many of their eggs in the basket of one final season, for which they will now forever hunt.
“This is so devastating; I can’t believe everything ended this way,” said Kai Barra, a member of a Titan boys’ volleyball team that had displayed title-winning ability. “There were many important events that I would have experienced, but now they’ve all disappeared. Winning league, making CIF [playoffs], earning a championship ring with one of the best teams and teammates I’ve ever played with, and our banquet were my goals for the remainder of my senior volleyball season. Also, I had high hopes about going to senior sunrise, prom, graduation, Grad Night, and hearing that school is closed for the rest of the year means it’s most likely not happening.”
Teammate Mitchell Cootauco agrees.
“I am so disappointed that the season is over because I believed we had a great chance at winning league and CIF,” said the fellow senior, who worked out to stay in shape in case the season was re-started. “This experience has made me realize that I shouldn’t take things for granted and appreciate what you have while you still have it.”
Teammate Carver Weirick, who will continue his volleyball career at Stevens Institute of Technology, also learned a valuable, yet painful, lesson.
“This experience has really shown me that it’s a lot harder to be away from my friends than I originally thought,” said Weirick of the “Safer at Home” policy. “Although it’s nice to have time with my family, I miss my friends and hope I’ll be able to see them again soon.”
A tennis player by trade, Katie Kirkendall added track and field to her athletic dossier, but will miss her senior season as a hurdler and sprint relay specialist. Given girls’ tennis is a fall sport, Kirkendall was able to be a part of four Rio Hondo League championship squads, but missing track still smarts.
“Having the season canceled and not being able to compete is disappointing to all of us who worked so hard to get to where we were before school was canceled,” said Kirkendall. “And for us seniors it is unfortunate that during our last year we encounter a terrible pandemic instead of having the best year, either beating our own personal records or having the best time with our friends, before we leave for college.”
Kirkendall added that she is “grateful” for the good health of her family and friends.
Sprinter Skyler Pak has stayed physically active as a way to defeat the distance learning blues.
“Being at home so much now, it can be easy to feel down, and exercise is one of the activities I engage in to lift my spirits,” said the always thoughtful, USC-bound Pak. “I am disappointed that I will not have the opportunity to compete in my last sports season but, at the end of the day, safety is at the forefront. I am beyond grateful for all the experiences, lessons and, most of all, people that track presented me with. Training at the stadium every day and watching the sunset with my friends after practice were the highlights of each day, and of my high school years as well. The sport has given me so much for which to be thankful.”
Joe Hindle will continue his track and field career at Kenyon, where he will take up residence this fall. The senior has continued to train in hopes the reason was to have been restored.
“Since I am a track recruit, it’s in my best interest to stay in shape, said Hindle. “Although it is disappointing that the season has been truncated, I am focusing more on what I can do to stay healthy and productive rather than lamenting the loss of a season.”
Distance runner Rankin Repetti called the decision “unfortunate” but shared Hindle’s philosophical approach.
“I understand why and I do think it is a necessary, albeit unpopular, move,” said Repetti. “It’s too bad this happened during my senior year, but I’ll get over it.”
Because their days involved in the sport might be numbered, Titans baseball players were crushed by the announcement.
“With all the hard work that my teammates and I have put in to perform well during the season, we can all say how heartbroken we are,” said second baseman Jazz de Perio. “I kept myself in shape with the workouts that our head coach provided and kept myself mentally ready in case we started again. The sudden denial of not being able to play has let me realize to be grateful for those years of high school and how we should live in the moment. We never know when the ‘good days’ are until we’ve already lived them. It feels as though my senior season ended before it even began.”
Connor Short had high hopes for a second act, but finds himself in a very crowded limbo.
“I have always looked forward to these moments in my high school athletic career,” Short said. “This experience has made me realize how much I love sports, and though it is cliché, to never take anything for granted.”
Mark Edmonds was off to a solid start as the baseball team’s catcher.
“I didn’t really know how to react to the situation because my whole life has revolved around baseball and the idea that my career had ended so abruptly was something I didn’t want to believe,” said baseball enthusiast Edmonds. “Ever since I was 10 years old I’ve always looked up to the players who wore the Titan baseball uniform and it’s hard to believe that I put mine on for the last time. I was really looking forward to having my Senior Day and recognizing my parents for all the years they spent watching me play the game I love; without them none of it would have ever been made possible. Although our season is over, there are many great memories that I have from baseball that I will cherish forever.”
Barra saw beyond the athletic component, which tells an even sadder tale, if that is indeed possible.
“I may not be able to say goodbye to all of my fellow seniors from school, which is so sad because they’ll be off to college and I’m not sure if I’ll ever see them again besides my very close friends,” Barra said. “I just hate how it impacted what would’ve been one of the most memorable times of my life. I’m just trying to hang in there and stay positive until this is over.”


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