At opposite ends of their collegiate careers, two former Centennial athletes are looking to keep their focus on seasons with constantly shifting start dates.
A senior on the Cal State Bakersfield volleyball team, Emily Hansen has already felt the sting of a lost season. She and the Roadrunner beach volleyball team played just nine of 24 scheduled regular season matches before the COVID-19 outbreak forced the rest of the season to be canceled.
The pandemic has now put Hansen's final year of college play in question, after the Big West Conference on Wednesday announced it would be moving all fall sports to the spring. Though not surprised by the decision, Hansen admits the uncertainty of the situation is intensifying feelings of unease that have been with her since March.
"There’s definitely some days where it’s looking like ‘OK, am I going to have a season? Is my senior year going to be different,’" she said. "The news definitely isn’t what I wanted to hear for my senior season."
On the other end of the spectrum, disappointment is equally high for Mia Gangle, an incoming freshman on the CSUB women's soccer team who was ready to hit the ground running with her teammates in their first season in a new league.
"We were already super pumped to go into the Big West and now that (the season's) been postponed, it just heightened that times 20," she said. "This was a really big year for us and we just want to be out there playing."
Gangle's eagerness is elevated by the disappointing end to her high school career. She says she's 100 percent recovered from a quad injury that kept her out of a Division 2 Southern California Regional match in March, which Centennial lost 2-1 to La Mirada in overtime.
With their differing degrees of experience, Gangle and Hansen are taking different roles in their extended offseason training programs. For much of the summer, Gangle has followed the lead of team captains, taking part in several workouts held throughout the city.
Now entering her fourth year with the Roadrunners, Hansen is the one conducing workouts. With access to weight rooms limited, she's held training sessions herself, hosting teammates for lifts on a makeshift system she set up on the patio of her home.
Hansen is also hosting incoming freshmen teammates Reilly Babcock and Denver Pugh, who've been staying with her the last month to learn the ins and outs of what will be expected when they take the court at CSUB.
When that happens is anybody's guess. With so much up in the air, Hansen says it's key for both her and her teammates that she keep an optimistic outlook as she attempts to get the college sendoff she's hoping for.
"I'm just trying to stay positive about everything," she said. "Just being able to have the possibility of playing in the spring is what's keeping me driven right now."
With more time on her side, Gangle understands the virtues of being patient, even if months of unwanted inactivity have her climbing up the walls.
“It definitely does suck," she said. "But we’ve just got to get though it. We don’t really have a choice at this point. We’ve just got to let it pass. We’ll get to play eventually."