On July 7, 2020, the Centennial Conference suspended all intercollegiate competition for the fall sports season. While winter sports practices are scheduled to begin on October 5, matches have been canceled through at least the end of the year.
“The presidents will reevaluate this decision by the end of September, based on work to be done by the Conference to assess sports-specific activities and the experiences on the schools’ campuses,” according to a Conference press release.
In light of this news, many athletes face a tough decision: whether to take a semester off in order to play their last season or grapple with early goodbyes and recognize that the 2019–2020 season may have been their last.
The Clerk interviewed via email members of Haverford’s fall sports teams to hear how they’re feeling about the season’s cancellation.
Madison Adore ’21, a right-side hitter from the women’s volleyball team, was devastated when she heard the news but not surprised.
“When the semester ended, I lost my summer job due to COVID-19. Instead of dwelling on this disappointment, I focused all my energy into training for our fall season and mentally preparing myself to take on a new role as captain. My senior season is something I’ve looked forward to for a year—I can barely even process that it isn’t going to happen, that I’m not going to be able say goodbye to the sport that has shaped my life,” Adore said.
Though there may not be a formal competitive fall season, Adore supports the college’s choice.
“Our college values athletics, and I know that if there was any way to conduct fall sports safely, we would be playing come the fall,” Adore said.
Her favorite memory was playing Swarthmore last Senior Day.
“We played as a unit throughout all four sets and it was a great way to honor our seniors. It was a very emotional and motivating way to end our regular season,” Adore said.
Though she is saying goodbye to a team and sport she loves, the 2019–2020 season was the best that Adore has been a part of. The team started off 12–0 for the second time in school history and maintained a winning record of 22–9, a strong improvement from the 2018–2019 season.
Meinhardt Rentrup ’23, striker, has also had to adjust to the news of suspended play in the fall. Though he expected the decision, he believes that it will be hard to stay motivated with no season or games to prepare for.
“Although it’s a difficult decision that upset all fall athletes, I think that given the circumstances and the strict new guidelines in place for next year at Haverford, there was no realistic way to safely have a regular season. I do think the college is making the right decision,” Rentrup said.
He plans on taking the semester off and playing for a team back in his home country, Germany. Though he’s keeping soccer a part of his life, Rentrup still hasn’t quite come to terms with the fact that he won’t be spending the next semester with his teammates.
“I think something I will really miss is the meals at the Dining Center, either late after practices or for lunch in between classes. Off the field, I think the shared meals helped bring me close to everyone on my team, especially outside of my class,” Rentrup said.
His favorite memory was winning the Centennial Conference at home in 2018.
“A huge portion of the student body was there to support, as well as tons of HCMS alumni, and the day really showed me how big of a role sports can play in shaping young people. The emotions I felt and that I saw in others really was something special,” Rentrup said.
For senior Will Klein ’21, his favorite memory was also being able to play in front of friends, family, classmates, and professors.
Klein will miss the in-season grind the most.
“There is something really special about spending hours and hours practicing, lifting, and playing with your best friends day in and day out,” Klein said.
Klein made the tough decision to not take a semester off, though it would have been his last season.
“At the end of the day, academics come first, and while it was a difficult decision to make, seeing as taking a semester off would likely mean that I could play one more season at Haverford, I am confident that it’s what’s best for me,” Klein said.
Brian Lorenz ’24 is among the eight team members planning to take the semester off.
Though Lorenz will miss being around all the guys and having competition in practices and games, he saw that many of the classes were online.
“So, from an academic standpoint I didn’t feel like I would be getting the most out of the school. I also really enjoy playing for Haverford and would like to play for the team for as long as I can,” Lorenz said.
He plans on taking classes at a local university, doing physical therapy, and training to be back in shape for the next season.
Rising junior Jacob Gaba ’22 plans on coming back in the fall, though the fall season for cross country was cancelled.
“I do think the college is making the right decision. If people want to be mad at someone, they should be mad at Donald Trump and our country’s failure to react properly to this pandemic,” Gaba said.
The team will most likely have time trials in the fall, and postpone formal practice until the spring season.
His favorite memory from freshman year was driving out to Wisconsin to watch the team’s top eight runners race (and come in 4th) at the Paul Short Run Gold Race.
This past season, the team was expecting an uphill battle after losing three All-Americans from the year before.
“Everyone ran their best, and though things didn’t turn out the way a lot of us had hoped, in the end, we had a really fun season,” Gaba said.
Like other athletes, Mia Reyes ’22 was not surprised by the college’s decision to suspend all fall sports.
“I was, of course, extremely disappointed, but my thoughts immediately went to the seniors. I’m saddened that they won’t be able to compete in their final season and that I won’t have the opportunity to play one last competitive season alongside them,” Reyes said.
Her favorite memory of HCWS is the feeling of a soccer Saturday on their home field, Walton.
“We’re so privileged that we have the opportunity to wake up on game-day, walk into the locker room, and be able to play the game we love, while having a great time doing it. My favorite part of the pre-game hype is walking into the locker room to feel the vibrations of the speaker blasting and my teammates singing along at the top of their lungs,” Reyes said.
That same momentum and camaraderie propelled the team last year to the first round of the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Championship. Reyes believes that a large part of the success was due to the emphasis on self-care, which allowed the team to make it so far in the season while avoiding mental and physical burnout.
Reyes will miss the small moments the most.
“Something in the air is different— everyone is pumped up, intense, focused, but also having fun. That moment when someone unleashes their creativity, does a beautiful move, and absolutely slams it into the upper 90 with the backdrop of the red and orange leaves falling from the trees lining the field of Featherbed [Lane]. Everyone screams their different words and phrases of encouragement as loud as they can as the next group gets ready to take on the drill,” Reyes said.