DUDLEY – With senior year coming to an abrupt close, so did spring sports for seniors.
Sports for college athletes isn’t only a chance to excel at your passion, it’s also a time to create and form different relationships with people such as coaches and teammates. Various sport seasons were cancelled from the rapidly spreading coronavirus.
Athletes Katrina Valeri — a member of the Nichols College Softball team — and Kaitlyn Anthes — a thrower on the Nichols Women’s Track and Field Team — were among many of the Nichols athletes that were affected.
Valeri, a skilled and fierce softball player, has appeared in many games and drove her team home in the season finale against Keuka. Anthes is a school record holder in hammer throw at Nichols and is a back-to-back champion in the hammer throw in the Commonwealth Coast Conference.
Valeri, a criminal justice major and a psychology minor from Middleton, said, “My teammates and I were grateful that Nichols College still let us travel down to Florida to compete in the PFX [Pro-Fastpitch X-treme Tour] Spring Games. When we first arrived, we were supposed to compete in ten games, but some teams didn’t show up.”
She added, “We had to take it day by day as the schedule changed frequently and updates on the virus were drastically changing with new information. Some of the teams in our conference didn’t even get a chance to travel down to Florida, so knowing that helped inspire us to play with a purpose,”
“We had an eight-week preseason and we were one week away from our first outdoor meet and then we got word that our season was being cancelled because of coronavirus,” said Anthes, Cumberland, RI native and who’s in the Master of Science in Accounting 3+1 program.
It was not only hard leaving the game that some athletes have played forever, it was also hard leaving the relationships that were formed.
“My teammates, coaches, and classmates were my supporters during this tough time. We were all going through the same thing together. The coronavirus brought my team together, even closer than we were before we left for spring break,” said Valeri.
“The minute we found out that our season was going to get cancelled, all my teammates and coaches were there for me. They were also thanking me for everything that I had done for the program. That was very reassuring to hear in such a difficult time. My friends were also there for me. They were there with me the minute I read the message that I was not going to have a season. They tried their hardest to get my mind off it. My family was also there for me assuring me that everything would be okay,” said Anthes.
With a successful softball and academic career behind Valeri, she isn’t ready to leave the hill just yet.
“I’m enrolled in the four plus one program at Nichols. I will be receiving my master’s degree in counterterrorism in the spring of 2021. The NCAA is offering all athletes freshman, through senior, another year of eligibility. I will be playing softball during my fifth year of graduate school,” said Valeri.
Nichols, among many other colleges, are offering students the chance to come back and have another successful season.
Anthes shares important advice for everyone, including future students.
“Never take any moment with your team for granted. Never complain about something because you just do not want to do it. Push through whatever injury you have as hard as possible. This is because you never know what is going to happen next and you might never be able to do what you love again,” Anthes said.