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Taylor spring athletes gain new perspectives

Seniors learn to be grateful, prepared after COVID-19 pandemic

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taylor spring athletes

TITANS — (Left to right) Lynzey Butzin gets ready to place a softball on a tee to practice hitting. Jaylin Reece does squats during his daily workout.

Senior athletes at Taylor High School are working to gain new perspectives after the COVID-19 pandemic cut their spring sports seasons short.

While staying active at home, softball player Lynzey Butzin and track athlete Jaylin Reece discussed how the changes have affected them and changed their mindsets.

Lynzey Butzin

A shortstop for the Lady Titans’ softball team, Lynzey Butzin felt “disappointed” and “unlucky” after hearing the news of the discontinuation of her final spring season.

“This was a time that I’ve been waiting for my entire high school career, to have my own senior night and just all the memories softball brings,” Butzin said.

The softball player said the worst part of the situation was not being able to make memories with her team. According to her, the Lady Titans had a pretty young team last season, where the girls had to work to build themselves up as a team. Butzin said she thought fans saw a big improvement from the beginning of the season to the end, and so did their 2019 sectional competitors, Madison-Grant.

Feeling cheated out of her final year of softball, Butzin said the team would have been one for the books.

“This season would’ve been great. We worked so hard to get where we are. We’ve just grown and built a great team, and there’s so much talent that we would’ve been showcasing this year. And we didn’t get the chance,” Butzin said.

After having her last softball season abruptly taken away, Butzin said the experience made her realize how she should be grateful for every moment in life, and not just in sports, and how quickly anything can be taken away from her.

Even though her softball career was over, Butzin said she still hits a softball around in her at-home net while in quarantine.

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When restrictions are lifted, Butzin hopes to get together with her teammates on the Taylor field and have a fun practice or scrimmage.

Jaylin Reece

A senior track athlete competing in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, long jump, and/or 400-meter dash, Jaylin Reece was in disbelief after hearing the cancellation announcement.

“At first I didn’t think it was actually going to happen, and once it actually happened, just wow. I had a goal this year. I was trying to break the school 100 record. Last year I came close to it. This year I was hoping to beat it. But then with the pandemic, it just kind of cut it short,” Reece said.

With plans to be a walk-on for the Purdue Fort Wayne track team, Reece said the lack of a final season will not affect his position with the Mastodons; however, it would have been more likely that he receive a scholarship.

To remain in shape for next spring, Reece said he has been doing the team’s “Core 100” workout, which starts with 100 jumping jacks, then 90 squats, and then a one-mile run.

The worst part of the cancellation for him, Reece said, was not being able to workout with his teammates or compete in meets. Additionally, he said he will miss the activities seniors usually participate in during the last semester of their high school careers.

“I feel like with this happening, I don’t get to enjoy the last part of my senior year where I get to go to prom and other senior activities like senior skip day, senior prank, senior cookout, and I feel like it takes away from me having a senior night for track and having my one last meet,” Reece said.

Now that social distancing at home, Reece felt he will be “prepared for anything,” as no one would have predicted a situation like this. He said he has learned not to panic but to remain calm and wait for everything to clear up and return to normal.

When restrictions are lifted, Reece said he wants to get together with his Taylor soccer teammates and have a scrimmage on the Titan field.