The Lehigh men's lacrosse team huddles before a game. The team was 5-1 before the Patriot League canceled the remaining spring season. (Courtesy of Lehigh Lacrosse)

Q&A: Lacrosse, baseball and track athletes share reactions to NCAA spring sports cancellation

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In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, The Brown and White spoke with various in-season student-athletes who had their 2020 season abruptly ended by the Patriot League suspending spring sports on March 12. 

Men’s Lacrosse:

The Lehigh men’s lacrosse team was off to a 5-1 start before its season came to a halt, with its only loss coming at No.1/2 Virginia on Feb. 15. The team won four games in a row entering March 12 and was preparing to faceoff at Patriot League rival Army on March 14.

B&W: What was it like to have your season abruptly upended when things were looking so promising?

Junior midfielder Liam Lynch: “As a team we had so much to accomplish, and we were about to prove that against Army — who is a great leader in the NCAA right now — and then Penn State (the) next week. It’s a nostalgic feeling thinking we could have won something this year, even though we lost it the past two years. This was definitely going to be a special year.”

Senior midfielder Erik Digirolamo: “This is the craziest thing that’s happened since we’ve been alive, and hopefully nothing like this ever happens again. Even with injury, you never know which day is going to be your last or which practice is going to be your last, so enjoy every minute of it. Enjoy the time with your friends while you’re here.”

B&W: What were the reactions, especially for the seniors, in the locker room after you all found out?

LL: “Kids were very upset, crying in the locker room. Not even getting the feeling of losing your last game — you don’t even get that feeling, so there’s literally just nothing. It’s just like empty space. No one knows what to think, but everyone’s sad to have to watch kids leave because they’re being forced to go home.”

Men’s Baseball

The Lehigh baseball team was 5-10 overall, with games against Mount St. Mary’s and Cairn as the team’s final preparation before beginning Patriot League play against Navy on March 21. In its last five games, the team was 2-3. 

B&W: How are you and the rest of the team feeling right now?

Junior pitcher Sam Wurth: “Obviously, the morale seems to be a little low. My heart goes out to all of our seniors right now because they definitely weren’t expecting their last season to be cut so short. I think the closer we stick together, the better we’ll move forward. We’re just trying to stay together and take it as it comes, because it affects every single spring sport athlete.”

B&W: What are your thoughts on this season’s cancellation?

SW: “I’m just upset. I was really excited to get into conference play, and I’m sure every single spring sport athlete is thinking the same way. From lacrosse to wrestling, I know a lot of those guys were fighting for national championships. 

Men’s track and field:

The men’s and women’s track and field teams finished up their indoor seasons on March 1, both finishing in fourth place at the Patriot League Championships. The teams were allowed to go home for spring break before their outdoor season, which was set to begin with the Penn Challenge in Philadelphia on March 21. 

B&W: What were your initial reactions to the decision?

Sophomore jumper Vincent Polignano: “My initial reaction was shock — it just feels so disruptive, because when I left practice on Thursday, I didn’t think that I wouldn’t be going back. Hearts go out to the seniors because they didn’t know that our indoor Patriot League championship was going to be their last meet, and I know a lot of them are going to feel like they have unfinished business. It’s really upsetting for them — the whole team is kind of taken aback a bit and we’re going to have to recuperate — do something to raise morale for the months we’re going to have to be training on our own.”

B&W: What transpired between the team after you all found out?

VP: “A couple seniors sent messages in the GroupMe just thanking everyone for their seasons and everything, and that was just heartbreaking. Every message and sort of every post I’ve been seeing on Instagram just underscores how much this sport means to everyone on the team, and how much the competition — and more so the people — because a lot of the seniors that are posting are shouting out the people that track has brought them, even if they couldn’t finish out their last season.”

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