▶️ Local athletes, coaches concerned with COVID impacts on scholarship efforts

By STEELE HAUGEN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

COVID-19 put most high school sports on hold, which is now causing problems for seniors hoping for college athletic scholarships. 

“People might think that it will be harder to get a scholarship or to go to college for a sport they want to go for, but I  think everyone should just go still try,” said Olivia Symons, a senior athlete at Madras High School.

Symons recently committed to run track for Lane Community College, in Eugene.

The virus took away her junior track season and this spring is still filled with uncertainty.

For coaches like Bill Steyer, who are watching senior runners, sophomore times are more important than ever.

“It’s not ideal, but what COVID-19 has done is brought out the true motivated athletes,” said Lane Community College track and field coach Steyer.

He looks for athletes running with clubs or other non-school programs. 

Symon’s current coach, Madras high’s Kip Briggs says he’s trying to help however he can.

“We will keep on training, keeping grades up, lifting weights. If worse comes to worst I will send individual kids on the track, set clocks up, set times, send digital resumes and see if we can get kids into school that way,” Briggs said.

He’s concerned the class of 2022 will also be impacted.

“It’s unfortunate for really the juniors,” Briggs said. “The freshman last year are now sophomores, so they have never competed. The sophomores, hopefully will have their sophomore year. It’s really the juniors because if it doesn’t happen this year. They are missing two years of time.”

For the class of 2021, Steyer recommends athletes reach out to collegiate coaches now.

“I would encourage them to do it sooner rather than later because there is always and it’s not just my school. Colleges across the board, there are limited athletic scholarships,” said Steyer.

Symons is already excited to start her track career as a Lane Titan.

“Everybody is so committed to the sport and it is a great team and they also talked about family and it just seemed very cool and very nice,” said Symons.

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