Like so many other aspects of life, the spring sports season was an unfortunate casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Baseball, girls golf, boys tennis and soccer, softball, lacrosse, and track and field were all canceled before they had a chance to get off the ground.
“I feel terrible for our student athletes and coaches, especially our seniors,” BRHS Athletic Director Van Park said in March, shortly after spring sports were suspended. “I love these students and coaches at Bear River and can’t begin to imagine the emotions they are feeling.”
At Bear River High, expectations are always lofty for the softball team, which has claimed nine state championship trophies in the last 20 years — but this year’s season was cut short after just one game.
In girls golf, Rheagan Hartfiel was one of the frontrunners for the 2020 individual region and state titles after finishing in the top 10 at state in each of the previous two seasons, but her senior season was grounded before it could begin.
Those are just a couple of examples of what might have been. However, before the pandemic shut the high school sports world down, the Bears’ seniors found plenty of athletic achievements to celebrate.
Bear River is always a contender in wrestling, and this season was no different. Three Bears brought home individual state titles, including senior Maverik Skinner in the 160-pound class.
The boys basketball team was coming off a thrilling runner-up finish in the 2019 state tournament, and made it to the second round of the playoffs this year behind the stellar play of seniors Mark Huber, James “Ren” Fonnesbeck and Logan Litchford.
The Bear River football team also made a playoff run, with leadership and key contributions from many seniors including Colt Lish, Dillon Marble, Klayson Roberts and Porter Tackett, among others.
Many of this year’s juniors and underclassmen are ready to take on leadership roles on the school’s various athletic squads next season, with fingers crossed that those seasons will be allowed to proceed as normal.
In the meantime, perhaps all the hard work and preparation of this year’s spring-sport seniors won’t be all for naught in the end. As Park put it, citing a quote from University of Virginia men’s basketball coach Tony Bennett:
“If you learn to use it right, (the adversity) will buy you a ticket to a place you could not have gone any other way.”