Sports season ends before it begins for Minnesota high school seniors

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The Minnesota State High School League, under the direction of the League’s Board of Directors, canceled spring sports Thursday afternoon due to COVID-19 concerns to protect student-athletes.

That means for high school seniors across the state their final season in the sun was over before it began.

That includes the nearly 30 seniors who play on the girls and boys lacrosse teams at Eagan High School.

"All my best friends I’ve met through lacrosse," said Eagan senior Tommy Meisinger. “It was honestly hard to believe at first it didn’t really feel real."

Meisinger, a varsity lacrosse team captain, was holding out hope that just maybe they’d get to take the field this spring.

"The only thing you can do is hold on to what I had,” Meisinger said. “Miss what I could have had this final season. We’ll get through it one way or another."

Eagan varsity girls team captain Sarah Thissen said she and the five other seniors had long awaited their senior night with parents, the team banquet, and their final season together.

Walz announces schools will remain closed through end of school year, MSHSL cancels spring activities

“They are just disappointed but most of them understood the situation that world is going through right now," said Thissen.

The loss of a final season that ended before it began was something long-time Eagan boys lacrosse coach Bob Felter has never experienced.

"I’ve known most of these kids since fourth grade, it was tough," Felter said.

That meant one last pep talk for his veteran players after word came down the season was not happening.

"We try to tell them this is not the low point in their life,” Felter said. “None of us are sick, most of us are healthy still that I know of and try to get through this… they are resilient.”

"Sports is something they can fall on during hard times and for a time when it’s really chaotic it was something they could look forward to,” said Eagan High School girls varsity coach Caitlin Hart. “To have that taken away was really heartbreaking for the kids."

MSHSL waited to make the final decision on the season after Gov. Tim Walz announced students would not be returning to the classroom this school year.

“As a parent of a high school senior, I understand the tremendous impact of this pandemic,” said MSHSL board president Bonnie Spohn Schmaltz of Eden Valley-Watkins. “As a speech coach, team members that I have coached since seventh grade won’t see their final season culminating with the opportunity at the state tournament, including my daughter. Knowing these costs, I’m proud of the sacrifices competitors and coaches throughout the state are making to keep others safe.”