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Seniors missing out on last season

By Staff | May 10, 2020

A year ago spring sports at Blue Earth Area were in full swing, including track and field, baseball, softball, golf and boys tennis. This year spring sports have been cancelled. That means this year’s senior athletes are left with no real finish to their high school athletic career.

High school athletes and coaches across the state of Minnesota received the disappointing news on April 23, which told them the Minnesota State High School League had cancelled all of the spring sports for 2020.

“It is kind of an abrupt way to end your high school career,” Blue Earth Area boys golf coach Travis Armstrong said.

The BEA boys golf team had qualified for the Minnesota State Golf Tournament the last three years.

“With the realignment of sections and Holy Family Catholic now in our section, we knew it would be tough to make it again,” Armstrong comments. “But the boys were up for the challenge and now they will not have the opportunity.”

Gaven Bruellman, Caleb and Jacob Beeler, and Kohl Jacobsen would have all been seniors on this year’s team.

“Gaven has been on the varsity squad since the eighth grade,” Armstrong notes. “It is a disappointing way to have to wrap up your career.”

The BEA baseball team was also looking forward to a potentially good year after going deep into the Section 2A playoffs last year and being ranked in the preseason polls this spring.

Baseball coach Todd Schmidtke had talked about the possibility of the season getting cancelled earlier in April.

“It would be tough on the guys, especially the three seniors, Schmidtke comments. “Luke (Carr), Caelan (Sanders) and Koby (Nagel) would all miss their final year of high school ball.”

It is also the first time since 1973 Schmidtke has not played or coached baseball.

The track team has 12 seniors unable to compete in their final high school season.

“I had been holding on to a sliver of hope that maybe just a tiny portion of the season might be able to be salvaged this spring,” coach Tom Plocker shares. “When the MSHL announced the spring sports season was cancelled on April 23, I guess it did not come as a big surprise.”

Plocker says the next day was tough.

“I went out to the track to film some video tributes for these seniors, and that’s when it really hit me,” Plocker says. “When I was recording at the parts of the facility where each of those kids competed, a wave of sadness enveloped me. It was finally a fact. I would never get to work with these kids or watch them compete in high school ever again.”

Heidi Herrmann was the only senior girl on the team. The senior boys were PJ Christensen, Alex Frommie, Adam Griffin, Thomas Lindsey, Xavier Morrow, Zac Murphy, Owen Naumann, Brady Olsen, Nate Phippen, Jayden Smith and Grant Strukel.

“High school athletics may not seem that important when compared to the health and economic concerns in our world today. But, for these senior student-athletes, it was a big deal,” Plocker states. “For many of them, their senior track and field season was the culmination of years of hard work, and most had high aspirations. For each of them, it would have been their last activity representing BEA and enjoying time with their teammates. So I am sad, but I am exceedingly grateful for the opportunity I had to coach these kids.”

Three senior boys will be missing their final season of tennis. They are Jack Frundt, Jonathan Hill and Jack Barke.

“I feel so bad for this group of seniors who have missed out on so much,” tennis coach Konny Wolff says. “The boy’s tennis team has improved over the last few years and these three have been great contributors to the sport and I know the boys were really looking forward to this season. They had begun captain’s practices and some of them had put in a lot of time during the winter months playing tennis.”

It has not been easy for Wolff either.

“Having conversations about the season with these boys has really been difficult. Jack has helped me out the last few summers with our community ed tennis also,” Wolff comments. “We have met (six feet apart) under the lights on Monday nights at 8 p.m., and reminisced about all the fun times we have had in seasons past. It is hard when you have coached these boys for years and it ended this way, but we need to be thankful for all the fun times we had and hope everyone stays healthy. They will be missed next year.”

The girls softball team improved last year and would have had five returning seniors on the squad this year.

Lauren Madetzke, Grace Roiger, Emma Dahl, Sydney Blagg and Emily Black will all be missing their final year on the high school softball diamond.

There was one team that did not have to experience any seniors missing their final year of competition. And it was not because they got their season in before it was cancelled. Girls golf coach Al Cue says he was without a senior on the team this year so none of his players missed their final year of competing for BEA.

Let’s hope we can say the same thing for all of the athletes next year.