Park City seniors moving on with their lives after cancellation of athletic seasons
On Nov. 22, Park City linebacker Brady Baumann walked off the field at Rice-Eccles stadium with tears in his eyes. The Miners had just come up short in the Class 4A football state title, falling to Sky View 35-0, and Baumann was aware that his high school career on the gridiron had come to an end.
But one thing that gave Baumann comfort was knowing that come that come spring, he was still going to have the opportunity to end his high school career with a state lacrosse championship.
Park City was the two-time reigning state champion and this year, the sport was to be officially sanctioned by the UHSAA for the first time. That meant that Baumann and his teammates were going to have the opportunity to win the school’s first-ever state championship in lacrosse.
Unfortunately that opportunity will not happen.
“It’s just kind of hard, to be honest. … Especially because the biggest things for me was just getting some closure from my senior year, my high school career and ending it the right way on top as champions,” Baumann said. “The football loss was really hard and I knew a state title in lacrosse wouldn’t have made up for it. But I still wanted that opportunity to try for it, so it’s just disappointing.”
In accordance with Governor Herbert’s press conference on Tuesday when he announced the cancelation of school for the rest of the year, the UHSAA released a statement that the spring sports season was officially canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In accordance with Gov. Gary R. Herbert and State Superintendent Syd Dickson’s announcement earlier today that Utah schools will be closed to in-person learning for the remainder of the school year, the Utah High School Activities Association has canceled all remaining spring activities, including sports and state championships. Current UHSAA policies prohibiting the use of school facilities and organizing practice and/or team gatherings remain in effect until further notice,” the UHSAA statement said.
For Jack Skidmore, Park City’s quarterback during that fateful state title game, he remembers what he was doing when he found out that his entire high school career was over.
“I was in my kitchen making myself some food because it was around lunch time when my mom walked in and told me that sports were canceled,” Skidmore said. “I kind of had to register what that meant for a second. … A, because I was making my food and focused on that, and B, because I just started thinking ‘oh dang, it’s over’.”
Skidmore was expected to dual sport this spring, playing both soccer and running track for the Miners.
After playing soccer for most of his life, this was Skidmore’s chance to end his soccer career on a high note.
“I don’t think I’ll ever play competitive soccer again so this season really meant a lot to me,” he said. He elected to run track for the first time because it was one last thing to do with his friends that he’s made throughout his life in Park City.
The cancellation of spring sports brings a whole other set of issues for Skidmore that extend past the field.
Having yet to make a choice on his future as to which college to attend and whether or not to play sports at the next level, Skidmore was using this spring athletic season as a way to find closure and help make the biggest decision of his life.
Paul Baynes was so excited for the track and field season.
After having his football season cut short due to shoulder surgery, the former all-state safety was thrilled to get back to competition, especially considering he was a front-runner to win the Class 5A state 100, 200 and 400-meter races.
“For me, I just want to compete,” Baynes said. “After having huge goals entering this year on the football field and track, it’s hard to know that I’m not getting a chance at either of them.”
According to his coach Dave Yocum, Baynes was able to run at the St. George Invitational prior to shutdown on March 16 and posted the state’s fastest 400-meter time.
Dylan Bauer finds himself in the same situation as Baumann, his teammate in football and lacrosse. But the former All-American is taking a different perspective on everything, acknowledging that he sort of had this feeling already that the season would be canceled.
“Nothing has gone our way so I sort of had the feeling that this was going to be canceled. … I mean you can’t have sports if you can’t have school,” Bauer said. “Honestly though, it was nice to know and have it be official so we can all move on with out lives.”
While sports are a big part of Bauer’s life, he and his friends just wanted to have a senior year. They just wanted to have the opportunity to walk across the stage at graduation and take their senior trip together.
In the end, what’s going on society is much bigger than sports and Bauer, Baumann, Baynes and Skidmore all realize and acknowledge that. More than state championships and closure on their respective athletic fields, they’re just happy to be safe and looking forward to the future.
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Park City defeated Uintah 6-0 in its season opener in front of a packed home crowd.