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Unable to relive high school fields of dreams, seniors look forward to college

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With the Minnesota State High School League canceling spring sports, seniors are missing out on their final season.

What are they doing now instead of sports? What do they miss about sports? Where are they going next?

The Le Sueur County News and St. Peter Herald asked Cleveland, Le Sueur-Henderson, Tri-City United and St. Peter seniors those questions, as they deal with a lost spring and are forced to look to the future earlier.

Cleveland

Mitchell Johnstone Action

Mankato Loyola/Cleveland junior Mitchell Johnstone races during the 2019 cross country season. He earned a ninth-place medal in the 3,200-meter run last spring in the state Class A track and field championships at Hamline University. (Richard Rohlfing/Le Sueur County News)

Mitchell Johnstone, track

In track for six years, seven if you count this quarantine season, Johnstone said, “I have been continually training even though the season is over. I have been preparing to race myself and break my own records.

“I miss my teammates and coaches. You never really know what you had until you lost it, and something that I took for granted is the good times training with my friends and losing the best coach I could have ever asked for (Dale Compton). He has truly been the biggest role model of my life.

“My future plans are to attend Winona State University and run cross country for them, and I will be majoring in exercise science.”

Ellie Nygren, track

“First off I have been in track and field for a total of six years with Loyola Catholic School (Mankato Loyola/Cleveland).

“Since spring sports have been cancelled I have continued my training. I need to continue my training because I will bring running cross-country and track & field at Viterbo University in La Crosse. I also just enjoy running and can’t imagine stopping just because of the cancellation for spring sports.

“I miss my coaches, my teammates and the races. I miss the feeling at the starting line waiting for the gun to go off. I miss my parents and teammates cheering me on after every lap around the track.

“My future plans are to attend Viterbo University. I will be majoring in pre-physical therapy, and as I said before running for them. I am very thrilled to start the next phase of my life as a student and a athlete at Viterbo!”

Lucas Mueller, baseball

Playing baseball since second grade, Mueller said, “I have been concentrating more on homework and applying for scholarships.

“I miss seeing my friends everyday and going to baseball games and practice after school.

“In the future I plan to attend Gustavus Adolphus College.”

Lexi Hollerich, softball

“I have been in softball for as long as I can remember,” Hollerich said. “I think I started around first or second grade with T-ball. Then in third grade was when I actually started softball with Cleveland.

“Now that spring sports are cancelled, I have been doing a lot of school work. I have been getting outside as much as I can and working a lot.

“I miss my teammates and my coaches the most. I miss just being able to go out on the field and play my favorite sport.

“I am planning on attending the University of Minnesota-Duluth and majoring in Bio-Medical Engineering.”

LS-H

Lauren Gregersen Action

Pinch runner Lauren Gregersen’s expression says it all, after Olivia Fritz cleared the bases with a double, then raced home herself after a couple TCU fielding miscues and suddenly the Giants were ahead 5-1 en route to a key Section 2AA softball victory. (Photos by Dana Melius/Le Sueur County News)

Lauren Gregersen, softball

In softball since fourth grade, Gregersen said she has been working since softball was cancelled.

“I miss seeing my teammates and coaches everyday. it was always fun when we were all together. I also miss playing softball.”

She plans to attend Gustavus Adolphus College to pursue occupational therapy.

Keely Olness, softball

In softball for 13 years, Olness said, :I have been enjoying my time at my cabin wake surfing.

“I miss seeing my friends everyday and going to bender for practice.”

“I am going to attend St. Scholastica to major in exercise physiology and play hockey.”

Tristen O’Brien, baseball

In baseball for 13 years, O’Brien said he has kept active by playing catch and skateboarding.

“I miss seeing my friends everyday and being at the field everyday,” he said.

“My future plans are to play baseball at Gustavus.”

Karina Lieske, track

Running track for four years, Lieske said she is now just focusing on finishing out the year online as well as going on runs and lots of sprints.

“I miss the team, coaches and meets. I miss going down to practice after school and enjoying being outside and running and working hard to set my goals. I miss the competition with other teams and seeing what everyone has accomplished. I especially miss my 4x4 team we worked so hard together. Just the whole teams positivity and doing what I love is what I am missing.”

“I enlisted into the MN Army National Guard and will be doing that after high school.”

Trace Edmondson, track

In track for three years, Edmonson said, “ I am still practicing because I love the sport and I might compete more in the future.

“I miss the family and friends that I had in the sport and the fun of the sport.

“I plan to go to Bethany Lutheran College for mechanical engineering while running cross country and track.”

TCU

Ellie Singleton

TCU shortstop Ellie Singleton throws out a runner at first as St. Peter runner Liv Stevens steps toward third base last season. (Pat Beck/St. Peter Herald)

Ellie Singleton, softball

In softball for six years, Singleton said she is filling her time “doing my school work, spending time with family and enjoying the outdoors.

“I miss the adrenaline you feel when you’re up at the plate ready to hit.

“My future plans are to attend Mankato State University and major in accounting.”

Adam Fredrickson, baseball

In baseball for 14 years, Fredrickson said he has been spending his free time working since spring sports have been cancelled

He said he mostly misses “playing with my teammates in the field.”

Fredrickson said he plans to attend the carpentry program at South Central College.

Grace Factor, track

In track five years since seventh grade, Factor said, “Right now I am trying to keep in shape because I will be running track for college soon. So I’m working out and then spending lots of time with family.

“I miss my teammates and coaches. It’s not the same to workout out alone. I miss the fun practices with everyone.

“I plan on going to Bethany Lutheran College to major in psychology and run track.”

Austin Antony, track

In track for three years, Antony said, “I am running every other day to stay in shape. My goal is 3-5 miles every time I go for a run.

“I miss my team mates and coaches as it was something I looked forward to every afternoon. I along with the other seniors miss the sport and wish the best for the 7th-11th graders next year on their season.

“My future plans are to hopefully run XC in college at UMD. If not, then stay in shape and run the great trails in Duluth.”

St. Peter

Ethan Volk Action

St. Peter left fielder Ethan Volk throws out a Paynesville runner attempting to score. (Pat Beck/St. Peter Herald)

Ethan Volk, baseball

Playing baseball since age 5, Volk said while not on the diamond, “I’ve been doing my school work, working, golfing and working out.”

He misses “being with the guys and coaches everyday.”

“I am going to Gustavus and playing football there.”

Brielle Bushaw, softball

“I have been in softball for as long as I can remember. I started playing on the St. Peter summer softball team when I was 10 and played all through middle school and high school.

“Since spring sports have been cancelled, I have been staying connected with my teammates through social media, focusing on my school work, getting ready for graduation and spending lots of time with my family.

“I definitely miss the team. Everyone was always so excited for game days, and getting pumped up before our games on the bus and in the dugout was always one of my favorite things to do. I also miss the coaches; they are great mentors and love the game as much as my teammates and I do.

“I plan to attend the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse to study clinical psychology.”

Brad Doherty-Bohn, track

“I’ve been in track for five years now and have enjoyed every day of it.

“I was very sad to hear that I wouldn’t be able to participate in track for my senior year as that was the biggest thing I was looking forward to.

“But now that I have a little bit of free time, I have taken up longboarding and learning the quitar. I work out every other day as well.

“I miss so much about track, including getting butterflies before every race and just having fun at practice. But the biggest thing I miss is how much the whole team felt like a family, whether this was your first year or your seventh it didn’t matter because everyone was so nice, and it was such an amazing atmosphere that I had never felt in any other sport I had done.

“But now that high school is just about over, I leave June 4th for Virginia for AIT which is just more Army training. After that I’ll either go active duty or go to a two-year college for carpentry.”

Nicole Schilling, track

In track and field for the past five years, Schilling said, “I was really looking forward to my final season. I wasn’t just excited about the races and improving my performances, but also the things that couldn’t be timed or measured: memories. The sweaty practices in late May, the McDonald’s stops after meets, and of course walking out of 2nd block early to go to the Marshall invite are some of this things I wish I could do one more time.

“Without school and track to keep me busy, I’ve tried to fill my time with family. We enjoyed being outside playing games, and I’ve also been running in my neighborhood to stay active.

“This fall I will be attending South Dakota State University. I plan to be very involved with intramural sports, and I want to join the skydiving club.”

St. Peter Herald Sports Editor covers St. Peter, Cleveland, Le Center, Le Sueur-Henderson and Tri-City United and Gustavus Adolphus College. Fishing, tennis and golf enthusiast

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