Pandemic forces spring coaches, athletes to put everything into perspective

Humboldt High senior sprinter Kaylee Heston nears the finish line in the Wildcats' one and only track meet of the 2020 season, held back on March 12 inside the recreation center. The season was suspended in mid-March and later canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Independent photo.

With the cancellation of the spring sports season due to the coronavirus pandemic, Humboldt High School spring sports coaches and their athletes have had to deal with the frustration and yet accept reality of the situation.

The Wildcat boys’ soccer team came within one win of the state tournament last year and with a solid group of returnees back, including a solid senior class, hopes were pretty high going into the 2020 season for head coach Joe Hadar and his squad.

“The guys have kept it in perspective. Yes, it is very disappointing to see our season get canceled and I feel bad for the seniors that they didn’t get to play in their final seasons here. But this forces us to look at the bigger picture as well,” Hadar said.

The Humboldt boys’ track team and head coach Greg Wickett, held their season-opening indoor meet back on March 13 and were poised to challenge for another North Central Conference title with some potential state championship events in mid-May. After a long delay, the season was called off on April 17.

“We got through the tough part of the season with the pre-season training and the bad weather. The last day we had track with each other was our first indoor meet,” Wickett said. “That meet gave us a good look at the kids to see how they came along in the last year and kind of gets you excited about getting going.”

Wildcat head girls’ golf coach Jess Harklau and her squad, coming off a runner-up finish in last year’s state meet and likely another conference title, had high hopes for the 2020 spring season like the other spring squads.

“At first it was unreal that our season was on hold and could potentially be canceled. I was in contact with the girls through a couple of zoom meetings with my varsity players. I had also sent the girls videos to help them learn on their own,” Harklau said. “I also sent out a 48-question rules test that wasn’t mandatory. I tried to keep contact and send texts and see how the girls were doing.”

The 2020 Wildcat girls’ track season was the first year in which Spencer Ross took over the head coaching reins from veteran Dean Clasen. He got to coach his squad in their first and only meet of the season, an indoor meet on March 12. In less than five days, it all ended abruptly.
“In the grand scheme of things our track season ranks pretty low on the totem pole when you talk about the health and safety of our community, our state and our country,” Ross said. “When you think about it in the big picture, it was the right thing to do.”

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