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Wesleyan athletes sad to lose seasons

by Davonte Mitchell-Dixon

Texas Wesleyan student athletes are dealing with the cancellation of their sports due to the coronavirus outbreak.
On March 18, university President Frederick Slabach announced the campus was going remote until May 10 at the earliest because of coronavirus. For athletes, this means an end to their seasons to prevent spread of the virus.
Men’s basketball guard Joe Cook-Green is devasted by his season ending abruptly. The team was scheduled to play in the NAIA DI Men’s Basketball National Championship in Kansas City earlier this month before the tournament was canceled.
“It’s heartbreaking knowing the season got cut short,” Cook-Green wrote on Instagram. “Me and my teammates worked hard to get to nationals, but I guess it’s all in God’s plan.”
Cook-Green is a senior and didn’t plan on returning after this season ended for the team. Even if he doesn’t plan on a return, he still feels for other seniors that lost a season of doing what they love.
“I feel like seniors should gain another year of eligibility as it’s an extremely rare circumstance that we are dealing with,” Cook-Green wrote. “Never has this sort of thing happened in the collegiate sports world.”
While the basketball season was ending, spring workouts for the football team were just about to begin before, on March 15, the Sooner Athletic Conference canceled all spring workouts and games through May 15, according to soonerathletic.org.
Senior defensive tackle Tyler Pullen was getting ready to put his pads on and play through the last spring ball of his college career. Pullen can’t help but feel remorse for every senior that’s in his shoes.
“This was our last spring ball,” Pullen wrote on Twitter. “We spent countless hours in the weight room and waking up at 6 a.m. to run in order to have our mind and body in the best shape possible.”
Pullen is hopeful that this virus doesn’t ruin his last season as a Wesleyan football player in the fall.
“In most cities in Texas, they are closing all bars, movie theaters, and most restaurants,” he wrote. “If they are shutting down establishments like these, they will cancel the football season without a doubt.”
Senior quarterback Justin Arth also hopes the football season won’t be canceled like spring sports have.
“I don’t want to speculate on when this virus could flatten or when we could possibly return to life as normal,” Arth wrote in a text message, “but hopefully as the hot summer months begin, the virus may start to flatten.”
This was Arth’s last spring ball as a Ram. He is also saddened to see the football team’s spring ball canceled.
“This entire spring has been tremendous in terms of growth as a team, offense and as an individual,” Arth wrote. “To have all of this abruptly come to a halt feels weird.”
Senior cheer captain Kaylee Baker was getting her team ready for NCA & NDA Collegiate National Championship in April, which was canceled.
“I am heartbroken,” she wrote in a tweet. “I have put my blood, sweat, tears, broken bones, torn ligaments on the cheer mat and I will never be able to come in to practice and laugh with the people I call family again.”
Baker plans to graduate in May and won’t be able to return for another season as a cheerleader. She wants all the Wesleyan cheerleaders to keep their heads up and be prepared to work in the future.
“Every single one of you have grown not only in cheer, but as individuals,” she wrote. “I know you all are sad about not being able to compete this spring, but this isn’t the end. It’s the start of a new beginning.”
Wesleyan Athletic Director Ricky Dotson wrote via email that he is heartbroken for all the athletes that are involved with the cancellations.
“When you think about the seniors who have represented the university so proudly, the inability to compete for a championship in their senior season is very disappointing,” he wrote.
Dotson wrote that if athletes miss their sport because of the virus, there is good news.
“The Spring sport athletes have been granted another year of eligibility by the NAIA, and I think that is appropriate,” Dotson wrote. “Many of the Spring sports had yet to begin their seasons and the ones who had started played only a few competitions.”
Dotson is hopeful seniors will return for one more run at their sport.
“I’d like to see them finish their careers with a good experience,” he wrote. “We will monitor the situation and follow the lead of the NAIA.”

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