Athletes, recruiters work to connect as spring season canceled

Credit: WINK News

With high school spring sports being canceled, some seniors worry it could crush their dreams of playing in college. But students can still connect with recruiters and scouts.

Senior year is prime time for high school athletes like Alexandra Hilton, who was itching to bring home a softball district championship for Evangelical Christian in Fort Myers.

“I think the last one for ECS history was in 1999, so we were planning on breaking out this year for sure, we were set to do it, we were first in our district,” Alexandra said.

That was six weeks ago, when nobody knew she wouldn’t be behind home plate again.

“I didn’t completely understand that my last game was my last game,” the catcher said.

Spring sports will not resume in the wake of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision to keep schools closed for the rest of the school year.

“I was completely devastated.  I had no words,” Alexandra said.

Seniors are heartbroken and feel for their junior and sophomore teammates.

“It was just disappointing that we would be unable to finish it,” said Cade Kirschner, who plays on the Canterbury lacrosse team.

“I know a couple of my junior teammates were hoping to get looked at by scouts this season.”

The lack of playing time is forcing coaches and scouts to get creative in interacting with athletes.

“They’ve done things like ride around on a golf cart around campus doing a FaceTime call with student athletes to give them that sense of what the campus is like,” said John Sinnett, associate athletics director for athletic communication at Florida Gulf Coast University.

The pandemic has made communication with schools and individual workouts more important for student-athletes.

“For me, I was going to go with Wheaton. My coach is very flexible, but it’s definitely going to take a lot to get me ready for the college level now that I can’t really play,” Alexandra said.

The NCAA relaxed some of the initial eligibility requirements for the 2020 senior class, including grade point averages as well as SAT and ACT scores.

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