With the IHSAA canceling the spring sports season last week, the spring 2020 high school sports season will be remembered as the season of didn’ts, the season of couldn’ts and the season of won’ts.
South Fremont didn’t have a chance to compete for a state title in baseball after bringing back the majority of their team from last year’s third place team. Sugar-Salem’s boys track team couldn’t win a fourth state title in a row. Madison couldn’t test the ambitions of their new golf coach who felt like a golf title was a real possibility for her talented team. North Fremont won’t get a chance to break in a new baseball field and a new head baseball coach until next season.
South Fremont star pitcher Sawyer Klingler was looking forward to a season where the Cougars could compete for a championship with him leading on the mound and his twin brother, Seth manning home plate.
“When it first happened we were already kind of preparing for the worst,” Sawyer said. “When they first announced it it was hard. We got third last year and we were hoping to get a title this year. But things happen and it is what it is.”
Klingler said it’s a bit of a relief to know the season is over so they don’t have to cling to false hope.
“Now there’s no chance of it getting it back,” Klingler said. “Hopefully, after April 30 we can start working at that again once the stay at home order is and we can start working again.”
Sugar-Salem head coach Brett Hill said having a team that is heavily favored to win the title then not even being able to compete for one is a tough pill to swallow.
“We’re disappointed, Hill said. “This was going to be a stellar year for us. We had just so much in the shed. Every event we were loaded. We had incredible throwers, incredible sprinters, incredible throwers, incredible jumpers, incredible vaulters and then, as always, my distance crew.”
Sugar’s boys track team is one of the most impressive groups of athletes put onto one high school team. Their resume is ridiculously impressive with athletes who’ve won multiple titles in cross country, track, football, wrestling and basketball.
“This senior class that we have at Sugar-Salem, you’ve watched them all year saw what they did in football, saw what they did in basketball,” Hill said “I’m just so disappointed for them because I’m sure they would have won another state title together and closed out one of the most successful careers of any senior class ever. They were a huge part of our past state championships, not just this year’s state title.”
Sugar also had several athletes who looked like they might take individual event state titles like Sarenady Price (1600, 3200) and Hadley Miller (100, Triple jump, long jump, 4 by 1, medley relay).
The disappointment of a cancelled season may have a consolation prize for many.
It looks as if South Fremont will be able to compete in Legion baseball this summer.
“I think for some of us Legion will definitely (compensate for the lost season a little). Some of the seniors aren’t going to play Legion. It’s the last time we get to play with each other. Some of us have been playing together since we were little.”
There is a bit of chatter that a non-IHSAA affiliated group might hold state track meet in June depending on when and how the COVID-19 stay at home order and gathering policies are lifted.
“A lot of (our athletes) are still planning on competing,” Hill said. “They’re talking about hosting an all-comers state meet in Boise in June. It would obviously not be sanctioned by the state. It would just give these kids a chance to showcase their talent before college scouts and stuff and let their performances show for themselves.”
Hill said Kaysen Klingler, Sugar’s top projected distance runner, helped him put the season in perspective.
“Coach, it’s not about championships and it’s not about medals, it’s about developing and growing and enjoying what we’ve done,” Hill said quoting Klingler.
“That’s so true,” Hill said. “These kids have just grown and developed and enjoy what they do so much. They’ve loved every minute. That is the part that’s hard, them being denied the fun that they could have had with one additional year.”