How COVID-19 Is Affecting All Sports at Montclair State

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Published March 21, 2020
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The Montclarion
The Red Hawks will not be playing any games at Yogi Berra Stadium this season. Ben Caplan | The Montclarion

Updates as of March 18:

The Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) announced that their fate would be the same as the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC); all seasons suspended indefinitely due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), a respiratory illness. This means the Montclair State University men’s lacrosse team’s hopes of playing their 2020 season has come to an end.

 

Ryan McCoy, a junior defender for the lacrosse team, shared his thoughts on the cancelation of the season.

“It’s really unfortunate that the season had to go like this,” McCoy said. “We are a really good team and we had a chance to make some noise this year. The seniors this year were a huge part of it.”

For a senior class that has seen this program go through several different highs and lows, including the death of former head coach Mike Schambach, senior captain and defender Tim Kirn reflected on his Red Hawk career.

“I never thought that a Wednesday game in March would be my final lacrosse game,” Kirn said. “It’s easy for me to hide and drown myself in sorrows, but honestly, I’m very proud to be a leader on this team. The culture is much different than it’s been in the four years since I started here. I feel that this senior class has played a huge role in that. I’m happy that I can say I gave it my all and left Montclair State lacrosse in an even better place than where I found it.”

The NJAC announced on March 18 that all seasons would be suspended until further notice. Photo courtesy of montclairathletics.com

The NJAC announced on March 18 that all seasons would be suspended until further notice.
Photo courtesy of montclairathletics.com

The NJAC also announced that they will be canceling all conference contests, non-conference contests and league championships for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year.

Updates as of March 16:

Floyd Hall Arena announced that they will be suspending all programs and ice times until further notice due to the outbreak and to protect the safety of others. This includes public skate, open hockey, stick and puck, learn to skate, adult leagues, hockey clinics, freestyle, Robby Glantz programs, spring league evaluations, Montclair Hockey Club tryouts, adult hockey clinic and the Rock the House Tournament. Refunds and credits will be given to those who are affected by the decision.

Parabolic Performance and Rehab, located in the upstairs of Floyd Hall, will remain open for now, but the facility encourages you to contact them directly about their programs.

Updates as of Wednesday, March 13:

NJAC announced an “indefinite suspension” of all-conference competitions due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus. The announcement meant the suspension of the Montclair State spring sports seasons — women’s lacrosse, baseball, softball and outdoor track and field.

The only hope of still playing comes from the men’s lacrosse team, who are in the CSAC. Their season has only been suspended until April 3 as of now.

This came off the heels of the NCAA canceling all remaining winter and spring national tournament games a day prior.

The news came as a complete shock to all Montclair State spring sports teams, whose seasons had just kicked off only weeks prior. While there is a possibility that the NJAC could resume competition this season if the virus is contained, the opportunity for an NCAA championship is off the table.

What is even more disappointing about the cancellation of spring sports for the athletes is that many of the teams were off to great starts, with softball (10-2), baseball (8-4) and men’s lacrosse (4-2) all posting winning records.

While the NCAA has announced that all spring sports athletes will regain another year of eligibility, many seniors will not be able to use that extra year unless they decide to pursue graduate school. Players such as women’s lacrosse senior captain and attack Megan Mahlstadt is considering this.

“Before any of this even happened, I personally was considering coming back for graduate school to pursue my [master’s degree] in accounting,” Mahlstadt said. “So it’s in the realm of possibility, but I can’t say that for my fellow seniors. But I know that any of us would do anything to play another season.”

Despite their season officially being cut short, Mahlstadt looked back at the fond memories that she spent with her team as a way to cope with the pain of not being able to play competitive lacrosse this season.

“Especially now that our season is canceled, every moment that I can think of [with my team] is so special,” Mahlstadt said. “From practice, stretching with the team, drills, the amazing days we spent down in Florida. Whether we won or lost, I will cherish every memory I have with them.”

This also affects the freshmen athletes who have been looking forward to their first season as a Red Hawk. Freshman pitcher Jillian Sims is one of these athletes who will have to wait until the 2021 season to step on the field again.

“Although I understand the reasons, my heart breaks at the thought of my first [Montclair State] softball season coming to an abrupt end, especially for my senior teammates,” Sims said. “I’m grateful for the short time we were able to play together during spring training last week. Right now, however, I’m just praying for the health of all my teammates, coaches, staff and classmates.”

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