Not much more than twenty-hours ago high school spring sports were canceled all across California in light of public safety concerns surrounding coronavirus.
The decision came after a Friday afternoon teleconference with all 10 of the California Interscholastic Federation section commissioners in which the group collectively said it had run out of options in the face of school districts announcing earlier this week that they would remain closed because of continued social distancing measures put in place by the state to try and stop the spread of COVID-19.
The three-time defending Northern Section Division IV champion Sutter High Huskies softball program is still processing the landmark decision by CIF.
“At first it didn’t feel real,” said senior Hailey Peterson, who along with a number of her classmates are four-year varsity standouts with Sutter.
Peterson said it still feels surreal today.
“It was definitely a big shock to all of us,” said Peterson, the team’s ace the past four years. “Right now we’re talking to the other seniors, trying to stay positive and looking at all the good memories the last three-and-a-half years.”
Peterson and the senior class came into Sutter and won a section title – the first of three championships in the division. Combined Sutter has totaled an 84-11-1 record the last four years with Peterson and company at the helm.
That’s what they’re choosing to focus on right now.
“I had a lot of confidence with the team behind me,” Peterson said. “The energy and the coaches keep you going the entire time.”
Peterson said one of her fondest memories was an extra-inning affair against Paradise a few years ago, which featured almost everything and was an intensity-driven game. While it was only a regular-season contest, it was one that sticks out in Peterson’s mind as she sits back and processes her prep career now that it has come to an end.
Peterson will head to Redding next year to continue her softball career at Simpson University.
Reagan Ford, another college-bound softball player headed to Oklahoma Baptist, said it’s disappointing that she and the seniors won’t have the opportunity to play for history this year with a run at a fourth straight prep championship.
“I wanted to be the first first in Sutter history to get the 4-peat,” Ford said. “I wanted to accomplish this with the other seniors because we work so hard.”
Ford understands the severity of the pandemic and has largely remained at home since school closed on March 16.
She wishes more people would adhere to social distancing.
“I wish people would be more vigilant,” Ford said. “My grandma lives right next to me … We have dinner everyday. It would kill me if I gave her the virus so I stay at home for her.”
Right now Ford said she is preparing for her next life venture – a trip to Oklahoma Baptist to play college softball.
“I have workouts sent to me and I have time to do them,” Ford said. “I am grateful that even though I didn’t get my fourth year (of high school softball) I still have four more years to play.”
Darcy Gillen, another four-year varsity star for Sutter, likely will take the junior college route in the fall.
Currently, she’s still trying to get a good grasp on the reality that her prep career is over.
“It’s really hard, we all had goals,” Gillen said. “Not being able to finish the four-peat is hard to think about.”
Gillen acknowledged that the shutdown of prep sports will make her more determined in the end.
“It makes me want to come out, continue on and put the work in,” Gillen said.