For Reynoldsburg softball player Nicole Pearce, staying motivated has been a challenge worth taking this spring.

The senior infielder was one of the biggest reasons the Raiders had a breakthrough season in 2018, earning a Division I district runner-up finish and making it to at least a district semifinal for the first time since 1999.

She was a key player again last year as Reynoldsburg went 8-16 while starting several players who were eligible to return this season.

Pearce is awaiting what she hopes is a final opportunity to compete for the Raiders, as spring sports are on hold because of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

"I've been doing at-home workouts, which include planks, squats, lunges, push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks and more basic body-weight workouts," Pearce said. "I usually hit at least 100 balls into my net in the garage. The goal is just to do something every day and to be hopeful that the season will return.

"If the season gets canceled, I would be extremely disappointed. I've been on varsity since my freshman year so I'd be unable to earn my fourth-year varsity award. I got to watch my previous teammates have a great senior year, so I was excited to finally have mine."

The softball team was to have opened its season March 28 against Bexley, but all games through April 10 have been postponed. If schools reopen Monday, April 6, practices for all spring sports are to be held that day through April 10, with scrimmages and regular-season contests to begin April 11.

Update: Gov. Mike DeWine announced March 30 that schools will remain closed through May 1.

This timetable would be altered if the reopening of schools is further delayed.

The Hartley boys tennis and softball teams both fielded young lineups last season.

Junior Dominic Rees, who is hoping to be among the boys tennis team's key players again this spring, has been running in his neighborhood while bouncing a ball with his racket to keep his hand-eye coordination sharp.

Junior Kami Kortokrax, an Ohio State commit in softball, spent the early days of the break working in a local batting cage until it was closed because of DeWine's stay-at-home order.

"I've been hitting buckets with my dad in batting cages outside and we just have to avoid the rain," Kortokrax said. "I also lift every single day either in my basement or at the house of a family friend who's a powerlifter."

Kortokrax's brother, senior Kylan Kortokrax, is expected to be among the key players for the Hartley baseball team along with senior Matt McElligott, who has committed to Sinclair Community College as a pitcher.

"It's every senior's worst nightmare," McElligott said. "I feel for those winter athletes (who lost the remainder of their postseason). I want to be at the top of my athletic performance by the time I have to leave for college. We all thought this was going to be one of our best seasons."

Junior midfielder Sydney Onega of the Hartley girls lacrosse team has been "going outside to enjoy the outdoors and nature" in anticipation of building off a season in which she scored a program-record 101 goals.

"I've been hiking and running on paths," Onega said. "I've also been shooting around on my goal in my backyard by setting up cones and doing the simple things that make a huge difference in the game. I try to not stay inside and instead going out for a run to stay in shape for what's coming up next."

Reynoldsburg boys volleyball coach Matt Bailey and track and field coach Richard Ladowitz have tried to stay connected to their athletes as much as possible. Ladowitz has sent his athletes sprinting and distance workouts along with instructions on weightlifting and keeping their core strong.

"The workouts were mostly general in nature, but they're intended to keep kids in shape," Ladowitz said.

"An example would be to complete normal drills, then sprint for 30 seconds, then slow jog for 30 seconds. Do this for 10 reps, rest for 10 minutes and then repeat, then cool down with a 10-minute jog and end with more drills and core. Our core includes 45 seconds to one minute of crunches, planks, pushups, etc."

Bailey has a group chat room that he and his assistant coaches post on frequently for the 26 members in his program.

"There has been so much on Twitter from the volleyball world about drills and exercises that people can do on their own or with a partner," Bailey said. "I e-mailed (the players) various body weight-training exercises as well. With most of my players probably not having a volleyball, I had shown them various drills to master techniques. I've stressed school work and staying healthy as the first priorities. Volleyball is second."

Senior Reece Crabtree, who was a pitcher and shortstop last season for the Reynoldsburg baseball team, knows he's more fortunate than others because he has a tee and a net in his basement.

"I like to give myself some short hops by bouncing a ball on my wall and then gradually working back and practicing my fielding fundamentals," Crabtree said.

"I'd like to get outside every day, but the sudden changes in the weather kind of stop me from doing so. It's hard to prepare for something like this to happen. When I first heard about the outbreak, I would have never known they were going to push the seasons back or worse, cancel them. I'm not letting this get in the way of my work and goals toward the game I love."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek