Coming off a second-place finish in the 800 meters in the Division I state track and field meet last season, Dublin Jerome senior Elliott Cook was hoping for a chance to win his first state title this spring.
However, spring sports were indefinitely postponed March 13 by the OHSAA because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and Cook doesn't believe there will be a 2020 season.
"I've already come to the assumption that there will be no season," said Cook, an Oregon commit in both track and cross country. "I find it to be very unfortunate that my high school career is ending this way, but I must keep my head up and look at the bigger and better things that will come in the future."
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 players 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.
Given the bleak outlook, Cook, who finished the 800 in 1 minute, 51.49 seconds at state last season to be edged by champion Aman Thornton of Mifflin (1:51.21), has cut back his training slightly.
"With a lack of a track season, I've resulted in going back to the basics for the next few months (running) seven miles a day with occasional (weight)lifting and core (training)," said Cook, a four-time state qualifier in cross country who placed fourth last fall. "This training schedule keeps my mileage somewhat high and maintains my fitness for the hopes that maybe in the summer I can jump into some type of racing before the fall."
Other local athletes, including senior Karlee North of the Coffman girls track and field team, are holding out hope that there will be a spring season. North, who finished sixth in the pole vault at state last season, has been getting outside at least once a day for workouts.
"As the pandemic has prevented coaches from attending practices, they've emailed sets of workouts for the next three weeks," North said. "I also try to do some sort of core work every day to stay in shape for the season.
"As for preparation for the pole vault, there isn't too much I can do to prepare myself. I have a piece of a pole I can use to do what we call 'pole runs' and I can practice my approach for the vault. However, with the shutdown of all gyms, unfortunately the gym I train at got shut down for the time being as well."
Senior catcher Alie Intihar of the Jerome softball team is making sure to "remain active."
"I'm trying to stay in shape by doing body workouts, going on runs a few times a week and I hit almost every day in my backyard," said Intihar, who hit four home runs last season when the Celtics finished 16-11. "It's important to stay outside and remain active during this time because nobody knows what could happen and if we're given the chance to play in the spring, I want to be as prepared as I can to be ready when that day comes.
"If our full season is canceled, I'll be devastated. We've been working so hard and our team was going to be the best it has ever been this spring. The whole team was ready to compete and have fun and it's disappointing to know it could all be canceled."
Audrey Bannister of the Scioto girls track and field team would like to have an opportunity this spring to earn her first state berth in the 3,200 after placing eighth at district last season. The junior is a three-time state qualifier in cross country.
"It's disappointing because I did have high expectations for this season," Bannister said. "I wanted to work really hard and maybe get a (personal-record time). But even if they end up canceling the track season, I'm not going to give up. Our coaches have been in contact with us and giving us stuff to do, so we're still active."
Bannister said her team has communicated through group chats, sharing training photos.
"We're trying to keep everybody motivated to keep (training), so that's helpful," she said.
The Coffman boys tennis team is set to return nearly its entire lineup from a year ago and had a freshman make varsity, according to coach Brett Hundertpfund.
"Everybody needs to watch 'Rocky' movies, go out there and climb mountains and be by yourself," Hundertpfund said. "This is so weird. Obviously for every coach, this has to be a first. What I told my guys, because we were able to complete tryouts and basically were able to determine our varsity and j.v., is that everything's changing so quickly. We were trying to get a handle on what we're allowed to do. First and foremost, be safe. But beyond that, stay active and do what you can. A lot of the guys are looking in great shape.
"I've been checking in with the guys and trying to maintain some contact. These are boys I'd be seeing almost daily for multiple hours a day and I miss that. I want to maintain some contact with them and see how they're doing. I definitely feel for them."
The Scioto baseball team had to cancel a spring-break trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
"You can only control what you can control, and this is an unfortunate situation for collegiate and high school athletes," coach Ryan Longbrake said. "They're just trying to keep getting in work any way that they can and stay positive and stay optimistic in the hopes that we can have somewhat of a season after all of this craziness passes."
Senior pitcher and outfielder Nash Densel and his Scioto teammates are doing their best to be prepared for the season.
"It's disappointing, but we have to play it day-by-day," said Densel, a Toledo recruit. "It's out of our control. ... We have a very good team, our team is very talented, and I know every guy loves the game of baseball and they're going to take advantage of the situation and they're going to put in the work. Coach Longbrake knows that. The seniors and the senior captains have been in group chats with the younger guys making sure they're doing work."
North, a Grand Valley State recruit, is trying to remain positive.
"If the season would be canceled, I'd be more disappointed than anything," North said. "Just the thought of missing out on my senior season is heartbreaking, but I'm trying to stay as positive as possible in hopes I get this season. However, if it were to be canceled, I'm fortunate to be able to continue my pole vaulting career in college."
ThisWeek reporter Jarrod Ulrey contributed to this story.