By Zach Surdenik

Charlotte High School

The COVID-19 virus has shaken the world, and when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced last week that students would not be returning to school for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, it was only a matter of time before the MHSAA followed suit.

The closure, although necessary, leaves a bittersweet taste in the mouths of the area’s senior athletes, who have now participated in their last high school competition.

Kobe Blanco is a senior at Charlotte High School and committed to run cross country and track next fall at Lansing Community College. He felt that there is a “what if” factor involved.

“I feel like I personally didn’t accomplish two things, which are making history at Charlotte and seeing my teammates improve,” said Blanco. “I wanted to break a school record since I entered high school, and it all started [my] freshman year; I also wanted to see my teammates improve.”

Brandon Osypczuk is a senior at Eaton Rapids High School. He is a varsity basketball and baseball player and will not get to finish his senior seasons. The Greyhounds basketball team was scheduled to compete for a district championship against the Lakewood Vikings before the season was canceled. The Eaton Rapids baseball team was looking to defend their regional championship with a team that is returning eight of nine starters.

“I feel heartbroken.” Osypczuk said. “We were going to make history in both sports, and to just have it stripped away like that, us seniors not being able to go out on our own terms … heartbreaking.”

Brennen Griffith is a senior at Charlotte High School and a five-sport varsity athlete (football, basketball, wrestling, baseball, track and field) who will not get to compete in his final two sports.

“I am extremely shocked and saddened by the results of my senior year of baseball and track,” Griffith said. “I would’ve never thought something so unexpected [could] take away what I have looked forward to my entire life, and that was finishing my senior year of baseball and track with the coaches, teammates, and student body that have supported me and our programs since I started my journey of high school athletics.

“I guess they really mean it when they say nothing is ever promised. The only thing I would have to say after all of this is to any high school athlete is ‘go into every competition and practice like it’s going to be over tomorrow because you never know when it will be your last.’ The feeling of never having the chance to compete [again] at the high school level for any sport is one [that causes] the back of [my] throat [and] stomach aches that won’t go away when you think about it.”

The senior class of 2020 will forever go down in history with this pandemic, and with all of the craziness surrounding us, try to find some time to remember your area seniors, because unlike in the rest of our lives, for them, there is no next time.