If there was one sports season that was the most dominant all-around at Puyallup High School, spring would be an easy favorite.
Baseball has won 11 straight league titles, boys soccer has won six straight and is coming off a state championship from a season ago, and the softball team has won four of the last five league titles. In addition to that, the track and girls water polo teams find consistent success year after year.
All of these teams were looking to maintain that level of dominance this year, until the news that their seasons would be cancelled due to COVID-19.
This news hit the seniors the hardest, as they’ve worked their entire lives for a senior season, senior night, and ultimately, one more chance at achieving their goals of a state championship.
For most, the idea that they will never wear Puyallup across their chest again hasn’t quite hit them.
“It’s crazy to think [because] I’ve been at Puyallup for four years just waiting to get a ring,” senior baseball team member Connor Ellingson said. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet.”
The seniors were only freshmen in 2017 when the baseball team last won a state title and only a select few were a part of the varsity roster. After falling short in both their sophomore and junior seasons, the team had high hopes this year and their eyes on the trophy.
“I thought we were gonna be super successful and go really far in state,” Ellingson said. “Our team chemistry was really good, and we had a great shot to go far, and we may still.”
The girls water polo team also had high hopes for this season. The Vikings won their division at state last year, placed seventh overall and were looking to build off of those accomplishments.
The news of this cancellation came as a surprise to them, which might have been for the better.
“This year we expected to do the same, if not better, and we had literally no idea that any of this was going to happen,” senior captain Sara Sprague said. “I feel like we would not have pushed ourselves as hard for the first couple weeks, or been as good as teammates had we known this was going to happen.”
Unless you move on to play in college, water polo is a sport where many athletes don’t play once their high school careers are over. For these seniors, they may never get to play again.
“Just the thought that we’re literally never going to have another game, not just at school, but unlike soccer, softball or baseball, we will probably never play this game again in our lives,” Sprague said “It’s really sad because we’ve all worked really hard, and for a lot of us we were hoping to have one more year. I don’t think it’s set in all the way yet, but we’re definitely feeling sad about it so far.”
Sports have been a huge part of all of these seniors’ lives so far, and many are going on to play at the next level, but there’s just something special about representing Puyallup High School. Reigning SPSL MVP Olivia Ellingson is moving on to play softball at Louisiana Tech University next year after having an impressive career donning the purple and gold.
“The thought of never playing another high school game hasn’t really settled in and I’m sure someday it will,” Ellingson said. “I’ve had some of my best memories belonging to this program and I’m sad to see it end early, but I made the most of it and have learned to never ever take something for granted.”