Winter and spring sports are canceled for the remainder of the semester due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The decision was made by CUNY Athletic Conference after the National Collegiate Athletic Association canceled all winter and spring championships.
Cancellations include practices and contests for outdoor track and field, men’s tennis, women’s softball and men’s volleyball.
CUNYAC shared the news Friday, stating, “While we recognize the deep disappointment that will be felt by our student-athletes, coaches, and communities, a continuation of the spring seasons is untenable.”
Hunter’s indoor track and field season came to an end on March 7 with the men Hawks placing eighth out of 21 teams and the women Hawks placing 11th out of 20 teams at the Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III Championships. The outdoor track and field team, whose women won last year’s CUNYAC championships, was set to compete toward the end of the month, and practices had already begun.
Hawks are struggling to process the news. Sprinter Obinna Onaga says as a senior on the team, it “means the end of our athletic careers and all the hard work we put into this season is ultimately meaningless now.” However, Onaga understands the decision was made for everyone’s safety. “We love playing sports but the safety of our families should be top priority no matter what,” he says.
Long-distance runner Zoe Colasacco, who has been a CUNYAC champion over the 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000-meter distances, says the abrupt cancelation makes her reflect on her track career. “It’s definitely hard to wrap my head around,” she says. “It makes me think about each individual who has pushed me and motivated me every step of the way during my four years and 11 seasons here at Hunter. I’ll definitely miss it.”
The men’s volleyball team was undefeated within the CUNY conference and 13-7 overall this season. The Hawks won against John Jay, Brooklyn and Lehman College. Last year, Hunter men’s volleyball won the ECAC Division III championships.
Some Hawks only competed once this season. The men’s tennis team was defeated by Yeshiva University and the women’s softball team lost to Stevens Institute of Technology.
Student-athletes are usually only allowed to participate in each sport for four years. However, Division III student-athletes competing in spring sports will qualify for an additional season due to the impacts of COVID-19, announced the NCAA on Friday.
However, that isn’t an option for seniors who are set to graduate May 2020. CUNYAC All-Star tennis player Nasser Ghaffar says, “we’ve been waking up every day Monday through Friday to practice at seven” in the morning. As captain and senior, “it just feels strange having this virus end my college tennis career considering we only played one match.”
“Track is very much an individual sport,” says Colasacco. “You don’t realize how much of a team sport it is until you’re removed from it all of a sudden.”