Athletes staying active despite lost season - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Athletes staying active despite lost season

May 3rd, 2020 development
Athletes staying active despite lost season
Sports and Recreation

By Zach Alvira
Sports Editor

The spring track season was supposed to be special for Highland High senior Zach Schroeder.

He had already shown his speed and skill on the football field, leading the Hawks with 33 receptions for 599 yards and six touchdowns. As one of the top hurdlers in the state, he was banking on a strong showing this spring to potentially continue his career at the next level.

But on March 30, when the Arizona Interscholastic Association announced it had canceled all spring sports activities.

“It’s very stressful,” Schroeder said. “I had colleges looking at me. I’m just trying to stay in track shape as much as I can right now.”

Schroeder shares the same sentiments as other seniors across the East Valley who saw their final seasons end abruptly.

But he has found outlets to stay active.

“I’ve been doing more power stuff,” Schroeder said. “I’ve really been trying to get my endurance up. Just doing anything I can.”

For a while, Schroeder found open tracks to set up hurdles and conduct workouts sent by Highland coaches. But as more schools locked their gates, he realized he had to be creative.

Using extra materials laying around his house, he made a handful of hurdles to set up in a park near his house. It’s an unconventional way for him to stay active should an opportunity present itself for him to continue playing either football or competing in track at the next level.

“It’s all about staying positive,” Schroeder said. “All I can do is continue training and see what happens.”

Makayla Donahoo has also found ways to be creative in the absence of the spring season. The Red Mountain senior softball player routinely works out, juggling online schoolwork at the same time.

If she isn’t at a park fielding ground balls or taking batting practice in the cage in her backyard, she and Mountain Pointe senior Theresa Wilsterman are running and doing other exercises.

“My college sent me monthly workouts to help stay in shape,” Donahoo said. “It’s a lot of body weight stuff and running. We usually try to meet up Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. If we can’t meet up in person then we Facetime on the phone.

“She keeps me motivated.”

The two are best friends and play on the same club softball team, so training together has become a ritual. But even then, she still can’t help but miss her teammates at Red Mountain.

“It’s just weird not seeing them when I used to see them every day,” Donahoo said. “I think this whole situation shows them they have to expect the unexpected and things can always change. That’s why it’s important to always play your hardest always because you never know what could happen.”

For athletes like Donahoo who have already signed to continue their academic and athletic careers in college, the cancellation of the spring sports season allows them time for extra training.

While seniors are using the spring cancellations to prepare for the next level, younger players are doing so to prepare for breakout seasons in high school.

Robert Moore III wakes up every morning and completes online schoolwork to maintain his 4.0 GPA. He then heads outside for workouts, where he has become creative.

“It was difficult at first to find workouts, but I just thought of different things and looked up stuff on Twitter,” Moore said. “Usually I’ll eat, do some schoolwork then start a workout in the afternoon.”

This spring was supposed to be a comeback tour for Casteel junior Gavin Jury. The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder suffered a season-ending injury to his hand as a sophomore playing football. It led to him being diagnosed with Kienbock’s disease, where blood flow to the lunate bone in his hand is interrupted.

He was told he may never be able to play football or volleyball again, but his condition improved, and he was cleared to play on Feb. 12.

“I was really happy, I had the biggest smile on my face,” Jury said. “When my parents said I was cleared to lift and get back into sports again, I realized I was able to do something I love.”

His volleyball season was cut short, but that hasn’t deterred him from preparing for the fall. He anticipates putting up big numbers for Casteel as a senior. He’s been working out on the field with his freshman brother, Landon Jury, a quarterback for Casteel. He’s also worked out on the field and in the garage with Tyler and Brady Shough, his cousins. Tyler will likely become the starting quarterback at Oregon next season while Brady enters his senior year at Hamilton.

He’s doing everything he can to prepare for the upcoming season in hopes of earning a scholarship offer to continue his athletic career in college.

Even as the spring sports season has been taken away, he remains positive for the future.

“I’ve really used this time to focus on football,” Jury said. “I’m excited to get back into it.”