Carroll County Times
Carroll County High School Sports

‘I am not taking it very well’: Carroll County spring sports athletes, coaches react to cancellations due to coronavirus

Westminster High School seniors Dustin Ottis and Adam McCartan hit and catch balls on the baseball diamond at Westminster High School Thursday, March 26, 2020. With spring athletics postponed, students and athletes are doing what they can to get outside and keep in shape.

Westminster’s girls lacrosse team was en route to a scrimmage at Garrison Forest on March 12 when the Owls received news that schools were closing the following day for two weeks due to the coronavirus threat.

Spring sports were slated to begin Friday, March 20, with 21 public-school events on the first play date. Karen Salmon, the Maryland Superintendent of Schools, announced last week that schools will remained closed through April 24 in a news conference led by Gov. Larry Hogan.


This announcement comes after their initial March 12 decision to close Maryland’s public schools from March 16-27, but the date was pushed back an additional four weeks due to a statewide increase in confirmed coronavirus cases.

“We used that scrimmage as our opening day and we took eight freshmen and junior varsity players with us to go down, 30 kids,” Owls first-year coach John Brown said. “We got them all playing time and it was a great time to go down there and play, but we were a little sad walking off the field knowing we couldn’t practice together the next day.


“We have tough kids and they’re competitors who like to win. This group is really tight and they’re sad they can’t see each other.”

Brown said the team communicates with one another through TeamApp, a platform that allows teams and social groups to improve communication by creating their own smartphone app. The girls upload photos and workouts in the chat thread to stay engaged, and Brown arranged a senior spotlight for the team’s social media platforms to recognize Westminster’s eight seniors.

“It tied in with them missing game day and not knowing if they were going to get to play one game,” Brown said. “The seniors have been waiting for opening day and we decided to highlight four on one day and four on another to give an introduction to the season while still hoping that we will get to play a little bit."

Those seniors — Skylar Miles, Katie Pettine, Faith Chmielewski, Deryn Schoenfelder, Madison Mills, Sophie Fischer, Chloe Sedlar, and Hope Michael — were asked to answer five questions and send in a picture of themselves dressed in their Owls uniforms for each highlight.

Brown replaced Jackie Stevens as Westminster’s coach after serving as assistant for two years. Stevens left following last season, her 10th, after leading the Owls to back-to-back state championships in 2018 and 2019.

Winters Mill's Sophia Barnes, right, makes a charge towards the goal crease as Liberty's Alanna Wray defends with keeper Hannah Shrader waiting for her move during a girls lacrosse game at Winters Mill High School on Wednesday, April 3.

“The goals don’t change,” Brown said. “Jackie did a great job setting the culture for this program and the kids show up every day, work hard, they keep their mouths closed and they compete. We had some great leaders that we lost last year and other are stepping into those shoes. The expectation is to go out, compete in every game and be really good come May.”

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Other athletes across the county are doing whatever they can to keep busy despite the cancellations and a spring season on hold.

Century junior midfielder Demma Hall said she tries to maintain a steady workout schedule while trying to keep a lacrosse stick in her hand every day.


“I am not taking it very well. It’s actually so ... depressing,” Hall said. “It’s hard to wrap my head around that this is actually happening. And it is for a lot of people.”

Manchester Valley relief pitcher Jack Metz, center, celebrates with teammate Tommy Murray and catcher Brett DeWees after recording a save to secure the team's 4-0 win over Winters Mill during a baseball game at Manchester Valley High School on Wednesday, May 1.

Manchester Valley senior Brett DeWees missed his freshman baseball season due to an injury and said he didn’t want to go out without the chance to play another game.

“High school is different,” DeWees said. “Travel ball, you play a lot of tournaments, a lot of showcases, so it’s like … the games don’t really matter because you just play a round-robin with college coaches there. But with high school, you’re playing to win. You’re playing with the guys you grew up with.

“So, that’s the sucky part. I don’t want to … miss that season.”

Pat Stoetzer contributed to this article.