‘We’re all devastated’: Sailor girls lacrosse players mourn loss of senior season | SteamboatToday.com

‘We’re all devastated’: Sailor girls lacrosse players mourn loss of senior season

Steamboat Springs Makenna Keyek hugs Julia McCarthy after Steamboat Springs defeated Battle Mountain 10-9 at Gardner Field Monday afternoon. McCarthy took a pass from teammate Lucy Shimek in the closing seconds, and then scored as time expired to give the Sailors a thrilling win over Battle Mountain.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When the Colorado High School Activities Association canceled spring sports, it wasn’t a surprise. Seeing it coming didn’t make it any less painful for the seniors on the Steamboat Springs High School girls lacrosse team that were officially deprived of their final season. 

After a few postponements, CHSAA announced on Tuesday, that any sanctioned spring sports and activities would not be held.

“It kept getting dragged out, and we were a little hopeful, but it was really rough,” said Steamboat senior Riley Schott. “I think we’re all devastated and super emotional about it all.”

It was hard to accept right away that they weren’t going to spend weeks on end as a team, competing one last time after years together.

“I was just waiting for it to get canceled because I knew it was going to happen. I didn’t want to process that it was actually going to happen. I’ve been pretty excited for senior year for a long time,” said senior Makenna Keyek. “When they said it was canceled, that was heartbreaking.”

The Sailors have all been dealing with the loss in different ways. Senior Julia McCarthy said she cried for hours on the first day, but has since started running and playing lacrosse at home to help get through it. 

“I’m really sad I’m not going to play my senior year,” she said. “I was super excited because this year we were having a bunch of home games and I was excited for my friends to come cheer me on.”

Schott has been playing lacrosse on her own as much as possible, while Keyek has been throwing the lacrosse ball back and forth with her mom.

At a glance

2020 Steamboat Springs High School girls lacrosse seniors

  • Lili Hutchinson
  • Sammy Kennedy
  • Makenna Keyek
  • Katie Lake
  • Julia McCarthy
  • Lida Most
  • Alexa Paoli
  • Riley Schott
  • Ari Sharman
  • Kelly Strotbeck
  • Ava Thiel
  • Shelbee Weiss

“Lacrosse, it helps me calm down and keeps my mind in place,” said Keyek. “When I throw the lacrosse ball, it reminds me that I have had past seasons that were pretty amazing.”

There were 12 seniors on the 2020 Sailors girls lacrosse team, which was hoping to improve on their 9-5 record the previous spring.

“I am crushed for all our athletes who worked hard and were excited for the season, but even more so for the seniors,” said head coach Amy Norris. “I can’t imagine what they are going through having so many great times and memories taken away. They’ve played in some of the most exciting and well-played games in recent memory and have paved the way for the future of our program.  It’s been an honor coaching them, and I hope they know what an amazing group of young women they are.”

Thankfully, like Keyek, most seniors have years of lacrosse to look back on and reminisce about.

McCarthy’s favorite memories are games against Battle Mountain and Grand Junction in which she scored the last-minute, game-winning goals. The goals were special because both were against tough teams and not only was she lucky to have completed the feat once, but twice.

Keyek said she’s going to miss the bus rides the most. On long trips, the whole team would gather in the back, talk about everything and get close. Schott said she’ll miss her teammates and her coach, the most. She said she’s not sure she’ll ever have another coach quite like Norris. 

Schott, Keyek and McCarthy are all looking to the future to get them through the present. Schott signed to play at Saint Bonaventure University in New York, while Keyek is hoping to join the club team at the University of New Hampshire and McCarthy is aiming to be a walk-on for the Chapman University team in California. 

“Obviously it’s a huge impact on our lives, but there’s so many other worldwide issues to think about right now,” said Schott. “I’ve just been going on a lot of runs and playing lacrosse outside, trying to keep my stick in my hand before I have to play again in the fall. Knowing I have four more years to play is keeping me a little more content with it.”

To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.

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