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Saint Mary’s spring athletes reflect on cancelled season

| Thursday, February 11, 2021

Despite initial plans for the fall athletic season to be postponed until spring, the College announced Monday they will not be holding fall sports this semester alongside the spring sports season.

Director of athletics Julie Schroeder-Biek announced in an email that Saint Mary’s is not in a state to facilitate both sports seasons and run normally as the athletic facility on campus.

“From the spring 2020 season ending, to the cancelation of our basketball season, and to the cancelation of the fall sports season, it has been devastating to see the ripple effect of this pandemic far and wide,” Schroeder-Biek said.

The spring semester sports will continue with their seasons, and the fall sports will go on missing a season, leaving many student-athletes, like senior Lindsey Pelletier, feeling disheartened. Pelletier is a member of the Saint Mary’s volleyball team.

“I feel genuinely blessed to have played volleyball at the collegiate level for three amazing seasons,” she said in an email. “However I never thought I would not have a senior night, but I am so grateful to have my team to lean on. COVID has taken a lot away from all of us, and I’m learning to count my blessings.” 

The College’s leadership team, Schroeder-Biek said, had to make difficult decisions over the course of the past year to keep the health and safety of the community at the forefront.

“We know that the choice to cancel our fall sports schedules this spring was a difficult one for [College President] Dr. [Katie] Conboy to make,” she said. “We also know that it was a decision rooted in the health and safety not only of our student-athletes but the whole campus community.”

Schroeder-Biek acknowledged the impact of canceling the season on the athletes, coaches, staff, athletic department and the greater Saint Mary’s community.

We do all we can in our department to support our student-athletes, coaches and staff through what has been heartbreaking news,” she said. “We are all passionate about our Belles and athletics, and we all feel the loss. Yet, each time one of these announcements is made, I am reminded of the strength of our community. The messages of support for our student-athletes and our department come from far and wide.” 

Sophomore basketball player Nicole Murphy spoke to the disheartenment she and other athletes felt after receiving the news.

“When the news was told to us, we felt as though the decision was made without feedback and discussion with the athletes themselves,” she said. “We also felt that Saint Mary’s was not upholding their word to continue with the sports season in the spring.”

Following the cancellation announcement, many athletes wrote emails and took to social media to share their discontent.

“I especially felt extremely bad for the seniors on my team as they are now unable to compete with their teammates one last time in the sport they’ve spent so much time and effort in for their whole lives,” Murphy said.

For Murphy, the toughest part of the process was a sense of false hope she feels she was given.

“We were all given a sort of false hope that we would be playing and competing for this season, which I believe was the toughest thing to get through,” she said. “The preparation we put in before and all during the break was suddenly all for nothing as it seemed.”

Despite disagreeing with the College’s decision, Murphy said she feels that good things will prevail, especially regarding the health and safety of the community.

“We are hopeful that we can successfully have our spring sports compete this semester,” Schroeder-Biek said. “We are hopeful in the progress in the fight against COVID-19. And we are hopeful that we can return to full schedules and seasons for all of our teams in 2021-22.” 

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