Short but very sweet seasons
Despite half of the spring sport season seeing more painful COVID adjustments, senior and junior captains say they are ecstatic to be back and bond with their teammates. Dana Diniz, the track & field girls’ captain, believes that a shortened season has caused the sport to become a lot more “individual.” “This allowed for people to go out and try events that maybe they would not have done in the past,” Diniz says. “This season revolved around self-improvement. I had a great time trying new events and going out to try and beat my past times/lengths.”
This season, Diniz tried out the triple jump for the first time. With many athletes remote, the returning athletes had to fill in their spaces and compete in different events.
Despite its smaller size, the track and field team carried out some stellar performances this spring. Diniz points out junior Evan Johnson’s incredible personal record, a 10.86 100-meter, and freshman relay runner Tessa Rava’s amazing spriting abilities. In addition, the team’s star runner, Anna Watson, maintained a consistent performance in long distance running throughout the season.
Boys’ track captain John Puka also was astounded by Evan Johnson’s time, and he lauds Anna Watson, a senior long-distance runner who’s been consistent throughout the season and on the verge of breaking many school records. He was impressed with the team’s support during the few meets that happened this season. “Hyping and cheering people up during a meet and just having fun and messing around with your friends is what I cherish about the sport,” says Puka.
Team bonding is an indispensable part of team sports, especially during remote learning. “My teammates and I took it upon ourselves to organize small workout sessions to prepare for the season,” says Josh Peyton, one of the baseball captains. “In addition, beating the storied powerhouses of Palma, Carmel, PG, and Monterey created a new energy on the team that I have never experienced at Stevenson. Our team had newfound confidence and pride, bonding us all together in our goal of winning the first league title since 1984.” Boys lacrosse captain Jackson Swette felt like the missing spring season in 2020 influenced the team’s mindset this year: “All of our guys wanted to get back on the field so bad and I think this brought us together.” With captain leadership, teams were able to get together in a safe manner and bond with their teammates, even when the season wasn’t happening and a pandemic was on the loose.
Luckily, we got two months of sports this year. And some people or teams, in general, had incredible performances against other teams. The three baseball captains — Ian Murdock, Josh Peyton, and Skye Franklin — all agree that their game against Palma was nothing short of a “thriller.” Peyton was ecstatic, saying, “They fully expected to mercy-rule us and get on with their days. However, we took this cockiness as a motivator, and came together as a team to hang with one of the best baseball programs in the county.” Knotted at 1 in the top of the 8th inning, the Pirates surged in front, erupting for eight runs and stunning the easy favorites.
Murdock, the star catcher on the team remembered, “how hard we fought to win close games against Pacific Grove and Palma.” These team achievements showcased the beauty of sports, even when you only get two months of it.
With some people not returning for in-person school, some people had to step up and try events that they would not usually do. One of the girl’s swimming captains, Josie Ertl, was impressed with her fellow teammates stepping out of their comfort zone: “One example of this is the large number of people who stepped up to swim the 500 freestyle (the longest race) even if they had never swam it before.” The track, baseball, and lacrosse captains were all fortunate enough to get most of their returners back which made it easier to function as a team.
This short season has been about individual growth like Diniz mentioned before. It was about getting back out on the field, course, lanes, and track. Athletes showed us how much passion and adrenaline they had bottled-up after more than a year locked up in their houses, and proved that this season was one to remember. Senior captains who are departing after this year were thrilled to see how well their teams bounced back. “During practice this season, we have always had a play-loose feel that helps lessen the stress among the team, we always joke and tease each other in the most jovial way possible,” Franklin shared, showing what COVID robbed from us for such a long time.