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How sports shutdown is affecting high school seniors

(L to R) Elliott Purdy, Jayden Jones, and Kaden Ross are North Platte seniors, who do not know if they will have a senior season this year. (Credit: Patrick Johnstone/KNOP-TV
(L to R) Elliott Purdy, Jayden Jones, and Kaden Ross are North Platte seniors, who do not know if they will have a senior season this year. (Credit: Patrick Johnstone/KNOP-TV(KNOP)
Published: Mar. 23, 2020 at 10:57 PM CDT
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All NSAA activities are currently suspended until March 30. That means no practice and no competitions, but it also means high school seniors across the state of Nebraska will have a shortened final spring season, if they have a season at all.

“There are a lot of traditional lasts that I and a lot of kids won't get to experience,” said North Platte senior thrower Elliott Purdy.

On Wednesday, March 11, the NBA suspended its season after it was revealed some of its players were exposed to Coronavirus.

"It worried me a little bit, but I was just trying to stay positive,” Purdy said. “Like, 'oh it's just because they travel across the country, they're trying to get that spread out of there.' It was pretty worrying for me. I was just looking for positives when I didn't know where they were."

From that day, the dominos started falling, with the NSAA announcing the suspension of its activities on March 16.

"I wasn't really in the best mood that day,” said North Platte senior golfer Jayden Jones, “everything getting canceled, not having a graduation day, not having a golf season."

While the seniors were upset and disappointed initially, they understand the reason for the suspension.

"I was pretty upset, but it's the safety of other people, so there's nothing you can really do about it. We just have to work hard and hope we get a few meets in," North Platte senior jumper Kaden Ross said.

Ross is trying to remain optimistic about there still being a spring season.

"It's not cancelled for sure yet, so I've just been hoping, and looking on the bright side of things," Ross said.

All three seniors are training in preparation for the season to start.

"I've been golfing every day, as much as I can; play at least 18 holes, practice. I'm probably playing the best round of golf in my life right now," Jones said.

"I’ve been doing a lot of lifting, a lot of throwing. I have a shot put ring at my house, so I've just been working on form and stuff there, and trying to get better," Purdy said.

"I've been running at my house, I came to the field the other day, I've been going to physical therapy twice a week to get my body right since we don't have practices or competitions," Ross said.

Aside from not having sports, the seniors will not have in person classes for the rest of the school year, and one of the most unexpectedly hardest parts of the situation has been not seeing friends.

"The social aspect of it is rough. I've been pretty bummed out about stuff being cancelled or postponed, but not being able to hang out with the people I hang out with every day, and not being able to come to school and go to class, that's been pretty rough on me," Purdy said.

Graduation may also take a hit, with its status currently up in the air.

"You work every year to get there, if you don't have it, it's definitely going to hurt. You look at every other class, on their graduation days everybody is so excited, everybody's family is there. But, you can't really do anything about it," Ross said.

Despite still having collegiate careers to look forward to, the athletes still hope they will have some sort of a season before they graduate.

"It'd be very heartbreaking for me, since golf is my life," Jones said.

Purdy and Ross were also hoping to break records that they’ve had their eyes on for a long time. Purdy holds the North Platte shot put and discus records, and hopes to break state records. Ross was hoping to break the school triple jump record.

"To not even have a chance to come out here and do that really hurts," Ross said.

"I've been working pretty hard at these State record numbers, and I don't know if I'll get to see them fall or not, and that's been the biggest struggle for me," Purdy said.

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