After competing in her first state track and field meet last season, Whitehall-Yearling senior Liana Betts was looking forward to making a return trip this spring.

Those hopes ended when spring sports were canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Betts capped her junior season by finishing 15th in the discus (120 feet) in the Division I state meet at Ohio State.

Earlier in the season, she established the program record of 126-7 in the event. She actually set that record five times during the year.

"I was looking forward to achieving more than I did last year, but we had to end it," Betts said. "We were about to do more than we did last year (as a team). It's sad that we couldn't reach that potential."

As a sophomore, Betts was fifth in the discus (105-11) and ninth in the shot put (31-10) at district.

Betts had trained for three weeks during the preseason this spring and was looking impressive, according to assistant coach Alexis Kefauver, who specializes in guiding the field-event athletes.

"I had a few kids that were coming back this year and especially with Liana, I was very upset when I heard about (spring sports being canceled)," Kefauver said. "I cried when I heard there wasn't going to be a season at all because I knew she had a lot to do and she wasn't done."

Betts also played forward on the girls basketball team this winter, coming off the bench for coach Quentin Taylor's squad.

"I have done both sports since I was young, but track is more my kind of style because I'm a very private person," said Betts, who will compete in the throwing events in college. "Having that moment where I just focus on myself and being an individual and not have to worry about letting other people down, being able to only affect my performance just felt better. I love them both, but I love track and field a little bit more."

The basketball team advanced to a Division II district final, losing to Lakewood 60-47 on Feb. 27 at Ohio Dominican. Whitehall finished 20-6 overall and won the MSL-Ohio Division title at 13-1.

Taylor said Betts was the consummate team player, accepting any role while also providing assistance for teammates academically.

"I like her a lot," Taylor said. "She would come to me and ask for extra instructions and how she could help. That's what I loved about her. She really wasn't too pressed about having a lot of minutes, although I'm pretty sure everybody wants to play. Some games she had different roles. She always played hard in practice. She was always supportive and she's very smart."

Betts also played the clarinet in the marching and concert bands.

"We both knew once we got out of school that we were pretty sure that we weren't going to have a season," Kefauver said. "It was pretty emotional for both of us, but we know that everything that we've done in her athletics and academics, she knows she's done well. She's just ready for college.

"It's sad that I won't be able to have that last season with her, but I'm so excited to see what she does in college."

Betts will attend High Point University in North Carolina. She will compete in the shot put and weight throw during the indoor season and the discus, hammer throw and shot put during the outdoor season.

"This season is over, but it's nice knowing that I'll be able to throw competitively (in college) and I'll have somewhere to go and more to learn," Betts said. "I really like the area down there."

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