One last run on the track. One last walk on the field. One last strut on the course.
All they wanted was one last moment.
On March 12, the National Collegiate Athletic Association announced the cancellation of all 2020 men’s and women’s basketball tournaments and spring sports in efforts to combat the COVID-19outbreak. This decision left many senior student-athletes in shock and unsure of what to do next.
Brandon Campbell, a senior sprinter, is part of one of Saint Peter’s University’s four Division I spring sports -- track & field, golf, baseball and softball -- that were cancelled. Campbell, who was returning from a hamstring injury, said he never expected his four-year run to end like this.
“I was devastated… It still doesn’t feel real that it’s all over just like that,” he said. “Senior year meant a lot to me since it felt like it was my farewell year.”
During Campbell’s sophomore year, he led the men’s team with a 6.9 time in the 60-meter dash. His freshman year, he recorded a team best of 7.29 in the 60-meter dash and a best 5.94 meter jump in the long jump at the METS.
In December, Campbell finished top-five in the 55-meter dash at the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights Classic, his last season opener.
Like the senior sprinter, it was months of training thrown away in seconds that has affected the spirits and minds of SPU’s student-athletes.
“I didn’t know what to feel anymore,” said Avosuahi Albert, a senior sprinter. “To cry, to be angry or to fall into depression.”
Albert, who shares the team with her twin sister Ohunene, hoped senior year would be the year she broke outdoor records bringing her closer to the Nigerian Olympic team tryouts. But to her, that dream has been tarnished by the virus.
The senior sprinter had one of the top times at 26.50 seconds at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Indoor Championships in February. Albert and her sister finished with third- and fourth-fastest times in the event.
Albert was making her last year count by being as productive as she could be – a full-time student-athlete, host of her own radio talk show and screenwriter in the making. Now with the semester online and in self-quarantine, she’s unsure of her next step.
“I feel so useless and not able to do anything,” said Albert. “My mindset before was to work so I can accomplish my projects in communication with video producing and tv hosting. But now my mindset is to finish every anime and “On my Block” episode on Netflix.”
And for one senior, he said he’s not taking the extra year.
David Powers, senior captain of the golf team, has been trying to stay active by running, hiking and hitting golf balls in his backyard, trying to cope with the “unfortunate” situation.
But nothing will bring back his last tour with his teammates.
“I thought I had one more chance to go through everything with my team,” Powers said. “Trips to tournaments, the MAAC Championship, workouts and other things we do. I thought I had more time with all of that.”
Since the cancellation, Powers said he and his team have been in a few group calls to talk and support one another.
Powers has had a decorated collegiate career with his team since freshman year.
The New York native has earned an individual title at the Wildcat Invitational, MAAC Golfer of the Month and runner-up at the Metropolitan Intercollegiate. He was also part of the 2016-17 MAAC Championship team.
But unlike Campbell and Albert -- who are both considering using the eligibility relief -- Powers said he won’t be taking the extra year. The senior golfer said it’s a tough situation, but he had plans after graduation and thinks returning wouldn’t be worth it.
Yet Powers added that it’s that time of year where everyone has the “itch” to get back out and play or compete -- a feeling he can’t shake off just yet.
“I miss being out there with my friends, my team and just playing the game,” he said.