Members of the Whetstone baseball team are hoping to have an opportunity to pursue the program's ninth consecutive City League championship this spring, but the OHSAA announced March 13 that all spring sports were indefinitely postponed because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
An initial statewide three-week closing of schools by Gov. Mike DeWine ends Friday, April 3. The OHSAA instituted a no-contact period during that time, although teammates can communicate and coaches are allowed to send their athletes suggested workouts. The earliest spring sports could begin under the initial ruling is April 11, following a five-day acclimation period.
Update: DeWine announced March 30 that schools will remain closed through May 1.
The Braves are doing what they can from home to stay in shape and maintain readiness if and when the season is played.
Junior catcher Dominic Panzo has been keeping up his training by running at least two miles a day, hitting into a net in his backyard, conducting catching drills around his house and in his yard and doing home workouts such as push-ups, sit-ups, curls and planks.
"First, it is difficult to get the same level of practice on my own as I do when I am with a large group of people," Panzo said. "It is harder to work on my catching because there are not any opportunities to catch bullpens. Furthermore, I do not have the benefit of direct coaching. Regarding working out, I do not have the same resources at my house as I do at the gym, so I have had to improvise and modify my workouts."
Senior pitcher Ben Paugh, who went 4-2 with one save, a 2.39 ERA and 68 strikeouts last season, said he has been doing much of the same things for his training that he would have been doing otherwise.
He has been lifting weights at home, throwing a ball off a wall in his basement and maintaining his usual routines for his throwing arm by using resistance bands and plyometric balls. For conditioning, he jogs around his neighborhood.
"It's pretty much back to the offseason plan that I had," said Paugh, who earned first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district honors last season. "Instead of how I was ramping up to throw and make starts, we're going to ramp back down and throw (less often) and then lift heavy."
Senior pitcher Aidan Stephens said he has been keeping up his conditioning with things like push-ups, sit-ups and runs with his dog. But he is unable to engage in much else while at home.
"At home, I can't get any reps, really," he said. "I don't have a place where I can hit off a tee or work on my mechanics for pitching. It's just kind of tough. I'm just trying to keep myself fit enough in hopes that I can get my mechanics back on par when we come back from this break. I'm just doing little things, trying to keep myself somewhat ready for when we start again."
Boys volleyball coach Errol Rembert, whose roster includes six freshmen, is hoping the season resumes so that his young players can gain valuable experience.
"They were working hard. I kind of miss them," said Rembert, whose team is coming off a 2-20 season. "They were learning and they were having fun. I told them just before this happened that they had made more progress than any team I've had in a long time, as far as where they started to where they were at that point."
Senior Thaine Nederveld of the boys track and field team said he has been going on runs mostly every day to be ready in the event the Braves' season resumes. He said his coaches also have sent him different workouts and suggestions such as when to go on certain runs and what to do for recovery.
Nederveld, who finished 23rd in the Division I regional cross country meet last fall, said it's a little easier for him as a runner to stay in shape during the pandemic.
"You just have to get motivated to go run and just do it," he said.
In his third season as Watterson track and field coach, Adam Kessler also has seen his personal business affected by the coronavirus.
In 1998, he founded Fitness Planning Consultants, which strives to help students and adults reach fitness goals.
"We've been shut down since (March 16) and we're doing virtual workouts," he said.
Kessler's daughter, junior Anna Kessler, competes for the Eagles' girls track team.
"We use a team app, which is where we do all of our communications," coach Kessler said. "I've uploaded workouts for our sprinters and our distance coaches have put in some workouts for the kids as well. There's been a good core of our kids who have been doing them. Some of the kids are going by themselves. It's a weird, crazy time and you just don't know.
"Most coaches realize that ... (the state) will probably extend (the school closure) some more. I'd like to be optimistic, but we have to wait and see. That's what you keep telling the kids. As of now, they've not canceled the season, so you need to continue to run and do what you need to do if we do get the green light so that you'll be in reasonable shape and not hurt yourself."
Senior attacker Dominic Dean of the Watterson boys lacrosse team is hoping the Eagles get a chance to compete after going 17-3 and reaching a Division II regional final last season.
"I've been keeping a pretty strict routine on getting outside to run and shoot almost every day," said Dean, a Bellarmine commit who had 71 goals and 43 assists last season. "It's hard with all the limitations, but I also try to work my lifting in during the week."
ThisWeek reporter Jarrod Ulrey contributed to this story.