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The Antelope

Senior athletes lose opportunity to finish final collegiate seasons

UNK wrestlers wrestling


Due to the spread of COVID-19, UNK senior winter and spring sports athletes saw their careers come to an unforeseen end. The college-wide decision was made this month, and it left many athletes with a list of unfulfilled goals.

Keeping student athletes’ safety in mind, there were a lot of opportunities that were left on the table after the cancellation of winter championships as well as the spring sports season.

“Of course it sucked missing my last chance to wrestle, but there are other people that are very sick and even losing their lives, and I have the blessing of waking up in the morning, which shouldn’t be taken for granted,” said UNK senior wrestler and NCAA Championship qualifier Jarrod Hinrichs.

This decision affected seven UNK wrestling qualifiers and took a toll on other athletes within the athletic program. A situation that started by not allowing any spectators at the championships quickly took a more definite turn. 

Three UNK indoor track athletes were headed to Birmingham, Alabama to participate in the NCAA Championships only to be turned away once the news was released. This included juniors high-jumper, Montrez Jackson, and shot put and weight thrower, Tiara Schmidt. Senior shot put thrower, Tanner Barth, was also impacted.

Following the news, the Division II Administrative Committee discussed options with the NCAA to help spring athletes that lost their season.

“The committee granted an additional season of eligibility to athletes in spring sports, and waived sports sponsorship requirements for schools cancelling spring seasons,” said a COVID-19 update from the Division II Administrative Committee.

While this is excellent news for spring athletes, the question still remains as to whether or not winter athletes will be granted an extra year of eligibility as well. Spring sports were just starting to reach the peak of their seasons. UNK women’s softball was off to a good start, women’s golf were swinging their clubs and men’s and women’s track and field were warming up for the outdoor season. All of them came to an unanticipated end, due to COVID-19.

When the news was released, it resonated with some athletes that there is more to life than sports.

“This all taught me that there is more to the game than just the ‘game,’ it’s all about the memories, lessons and people you meet along the way,” said senior softball player Katie Johnson.

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