Varsity dreams put on hold for area freshmen

Kayla Renie/The Herald
Forest Park High School freshman Kenzie Schultz practices tennis at the St. Anthony Community Center tennis courts on Wednesday. Since then, the state has canceled school for the remainder of the school year, thus canceling spring sports. “I was ready to bond more with my team, but I never had that chance,” Kenzie said. “I miss my friends.”


Many area freshmen grew up with the dream to one day play sports at the varsity level. That day could have come as early as this year. But now it will have to wait.

Indiana has closed its schools through the end of the school year due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Northeast Dubois softball freshman Rhylan Kalb had been waiting to take the field.

“I’ve been wanting to play at the varsity level for a long time,” she said. “I just remember going to the high school games and wanting to be out there, and it just broke my heart hearing that we can’t play.”

The Jeeps won a sectional championship last year, and Rhylan had a chance to try to be part of hopefully a repeat this year.

It’s a dream of hers to win a sectional.

“That’s one thing [Coach] Dion [Terwiske] said, that if we don’t have a season, at least we were working at having a season together as a team,” Rhylan said.

Gabe Boeglin was a serious contender to break into the top five for Southridge golf this season. He has some things about him that drew the praise of Raider coach Brock Matthews. He also has a new set of irons that he was looking forward to trying out, and he anticipated the chance to show people what he’s made of as a freshman.

Gabe has been playing golf nearly six years, and he never thought his skills would be at the point they’re at now. He loves that golf gets him outside, but the golf work he’s doing is in his yard, which is not the same as being on a course.

“Usually, I’m good at chipping and putting and kind of getting to the hole, but usually, I’m lacking that really solid tee shot,” Gabe said. “So, that’s been my focus.”

Heritage Hills made history in 2019, winning a regional softball championship for the first time in history. That championship was all the more reason for twins Emma and Sarah Day to get excited to play for the Patriots. The Day twins have been playing since they were in T-ball, and have grown up playing for the Indiana Gators Fastpitch travel team. They, too, have long held varsity aspirations.

“Not being able to actually play games and be with our teammates — it’s just kind of disheartening,” Sarah said.

“I was definitely very sad because I had spent these months preparing, and I was just mentally prepared to go out and compete and help my team,” Emma said. “It was just hard to have to say, ‘Hey, I’m not going to play as soon as I thought.’”

Forest Park tennis had not yet practiced by the time school closed. The team had only done conditioning. The first day of practice was supposed to be on March 16.

“I was so upset,” Kenzie Schultz said. “It’s really hard because I was so ready to work my way up from the bottom. We didn’t know where we were placed yet. I was so ready to know who I needed to be to get to the top. I was really ready for the competition.”

She said coach Amie Weyer has given the team workouts to do during this time. Kenzie is making sure to run every day while getting in workouts with her legs and abs. She got tennis work in prior to the stay-at-home order. Now, it’s hard to play by herself, though she can play a ball against the wall.

However, she misses everyone on the team. She misses the motivation, as everybody was pushing one another as they were running harder and working harder. She thought Forest Park was going to have a really good season.

Harrison Hulsman really anticipated his freshman track season at Jasper in trying to help the Wildcats win their fifth consecutive boys sectional championship. He already competed in cross country, helping the Wildcats to their first state berth as a team since 1952. Harrison has been running for a few years now, and he’s still doing the work. He ran six miles Monday morning at the Riverwalk, and another four miles Monday evening at the Parklands.

He’s running 50 miles a week during a three-week span, tapering down to 40-45 miles per week after that and going back to 50 miles for the next three weeks.

“I’m still putting in the work to stay in shape because I’m still training for cross country next year as well,” Harrison said.

He was excited for track season and thought he’d really enjoy it. He said the team was initially discouraged upon finding out the season would be postponed, but eventually got past that. Harrison plans to run in college, and knows he needs to put in a lot more work. He knows he’ll continue on, even if it’s painful now.

“I think it definitely is worth it,” he said. “I enjoy it so much, and I know all my teammates do, too.”

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