Monday was a big day for hundreds of Harford County public high school student-athletes as they made their way to turf or grass fields, baseball and softball diamonds, tennis courts and tracks.
It was the first day that spring sports participants could practice in basically a year. Spring sports were canceled at this time in 2020 by the COVID 19 pandemic, which also forced cancellation of the 2020 fall and 2020-21 winter seasons.
So, Monday, though chilly, spring sports were in full bloom throughout Harford County and excitement, as expected, was over the top.
“We are super excited, obviously we didn’t know what the spring had for us, but once we got the call that the spring season was going to happen, we’re just excited to have a little bit of normalcy, with this last year being so crazy,” Patterson Mill girls lacrosse coach Kim Burgasser said. “We have a lot of great girls coming back. Our senior class is going to be super strong and we’re super excited for them.”
The last time Burgasser and her team were on the field in real competition, the Huskies were celebrating a second consecutive Class 1A state girls lacrosse state championship.
Senior Anna Salerno was a sophomore on that team. “I know that it’s been a year this week, obviously, that everything had shut down and we had only played one scrimmage,” Salerno said. “A lot of the same girls are back on the field, which is really nice.”
Monday’s start date is two weeks later than the normal spring sports start date.
In order to participate, student-athletes had to be registered in FormRELeaf by March 15; have a current physical, dated after June 7, 2020, submitted; meet academic eligibility requirements based on second quarter grades; and provide a signed COVID-19 awareness parent/student-athlete participation acknowledgment.
There is no participation fee and only families of players will be permitted to spectate games while following face mask and social distancing requirements.
In Havre de Grace, athletes are not only enjoying a new season, but also a new school and for the baseball program, a new 90-foot baseball diamond, right out the back door.
“It feels great, last year was tough. We had a great group, some seniors there that you just wanted … it wasn’t cool to see them not be able to finish their careers out here,” Warriors head coach Chad Blevins said. “It is what it is man, and here we are. It’s great to see these guys back out here.”
Blevins also likes the field, which is a change for Warrior baseball teams that have played at Stancill Park for multiple decades.
“I love playing at Stancill, because of the tradition there, it’s just neat growing up there,” Blevins said. “We really appreciate all those years at the Little League, everything they did for us, but it’s really neat to be over here at the school. More of a college campus type feel that the student body can come out and watch a baseball game.”
Two Havre de Grace seniors, Frank Siano and Connor Ignozzi, are pleased to be having a season.
“It’s sensational, I cannot wait to get back out there with my guys,” Siano said. “We’re going to have a great season, getting better every day.”
Ignozzi said, “It’s a feeling that you’ve got to be here to know it. I love being out here with these guys. Last year was a heart breaker, having our season taken away from us and I’m just relieved that we’re going to actually get a season in before we go to college or our separate ways.”