Welcome back, spring sports, we missed you.
Baseball, softball and track are all in the midst of preparations for the upcoming season, one that none of them got to have a year ago.
“We worked so hard last winter before COVID hit. We were disappointed, really disappointed for our seniors,” Hebron girls track coach Rhonda Walker said. “The kids were disappointed, so they’re really excited to be able to be back this year and we’re looking forward to a full season. We’re excited to be able to be outside. It just kind of gives us a dose of spring fever. I hope the weather will cooperate, too. The kids are enthusiastic. They’re working hard. We haven’t had to get on anybody. They’re glad to be out here, too. They missed having a season, too.”
The sentiment is the same on the boys side.
“I imagine our first track meet will bring a renewed sense of joy and normalcy,” Hawks coach Erin Charpentier said. “If I had to describe my feelings about the season, it would be cautiously optimistic. At this time last year, I was beyond thrilled at how strong my runners looked and ready for a season, so losing that spring season definitely hurt. However, my runners put in a lot of work during the off season this year, and it definitely shows that they’ve been pushing hard to make up for the time they lost last year. Our beginning of the season mile times are faster than they were last year, and I can see the excitement in our athletes as we begin looking forward to who will compete in which event. Simply put, everyone is eager and cannot wait to start.”
Softball coach Craig Doelling recalls not even getting to this point a year ago, as practices were paused and seasons were ultimately cancelled.
“We made it into week one and things got shut down,” Doelling said. “It was really too bad, especially for the seniors last year. Everybody’s looking forward to it. Obviously, we’re thrilled to be playing from a coaching standpoint and a playing standpoint. Everybody’s just chomping at the bit. There are going to be a lot of very hungry, aggressive teams out there this year just because of the joy of being able to be back on a ball field. We have a large freshman class that came in, so they’re anxiously awaiting opening day. They’re very enthusiastic. So far, it’s been very good, very positive. The outlook’s promising that we are going to get to play, so we’ll see what Mother Nature has in store for us.”
The energy’s also high for baseball, where the Hawks are ranked sixth in Class 2A in the pre-season poll.
“The sophomores are still like freshmen, so there’s some unknown,” coach John Steinhilber said. “But the focus is the best we’ve had since I’ve been here. Attendance has been really good, the highest it’s ever been in the pre-season. I’m as excited as I’ve ever been for the kids, for the program.”