SPC cancels fall athletic season


Courtesy of SJS Athletics

The field hockey team celebrates after winning SPC in 2019. This year, however, the fall SPC season has been cancelled.

Ellie Monday, Staff Writer

For six years, Piper Edwards dreamed of crowds storming the field and chanting the Alma Mater in unison after leading the field hockey team to an SPC championship.

The Mavs won SPC in 2018 and 2019 and were poised to continue the streak this fall, but on Aug. 21, the Southwest Preparatory Conference’s Board of Directors announced the cancellation of the 2020 fall SPC athletic season. 

“I’ve looked up to all the captains and seniors since sixth grade,” said Edwards, a field hockey captain. “It is really disappointing, but I know it was probably the right and safe decision that could save a lot of people.”

According to a pushpage released by Headmaster Mark Desjardins, the campus will open up to voluntary conditioning and practices on Aug. 31 that follow distancing protocols set by the SJS Medical Advisory Team.

“I certainly share the disappointment with all of our fall athletes and coaches, especially our seniors,” Director of Athletics Vincent Arduini said. “In the meantime, I encourage all of our athletes to stay strong during these challenging times.”

Senior volleyball players Rimmele Crady and Emily Biskamp were having lunch when a friend sent them a screenshot of the SPC announcement canceling their season. 

“The news was a shock,” Crady said. “We didn’t process it. Then it was just sadness because we didn’t know if there was still going to be a season.”

The girls’ cross country team finished in third place at SPC in 2019. (Courtesy of SJS Athletics)

After placing third at SPC last year, Crady was disappointed that the team no longer had the opportunity to win SPC or bond with her underclassman teammates.

Head coach Brenda Mercado and the field hockey captains had been preparing for the season since January. 

Edwards says that Coach Mercado “has been our rock during all of this.” Other coaches have tried to console and motivate disheartened athletes. 

“When we found out that SPC was canceled, it felt like everything we had worked for as a team over the off-season was pointless,” said John Marian, a junior wide receiver, “but I realized that even though we might not have a season, we can still put in the work for next season.” 

Cross-country coach Richie Mercado continues to schedule workouts, hoping that his team can eventually attend some local meets. 

Sophomore George Donnelly, who plans to treat the season as a training year, will continue running to maintain his endurance for the soccer season while girls’ captain Cici Calhoun encourages her teammates to improve their diets, stay hydrated and post their practice runs on the team’s workout app. Calhoun says that the team is taking the approach that “no season is completely done.” 

Although the fall athletes are handling this news in different ways, many share the same hope of competing together on the field, court or course by the end of the season.