Coronavirus: Durham Region student athletes, coaches react to cancelled fall competition

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WATCH: Student athletes are still processing the news that there won't be any fall competition this year. It's a blow that's being felt by players and coaches at Ontario Tech University as well as Durham College. Aaron Streck reports. – Jun 10, 2020

Student athletes in Durham Region are still processing the news that there won’t be any fall competition this year.

This comes after the OUA, U-Sports and OCAA cancelled sport programming and championships earlier this week.

It’s a blow that’s being felt by coaches and players at Ontario Tech University as well as Durham College.

“It’s tough to hear that we’re not going to play next season,” said Justin Travis, pitcher with the Durham College Lords.

Travis has been looking forward to putting on his cleats and taking the field again for months.

The 18-year-old is going into his second and final year at Durham College.

“Coming off a national championship in my freshman year, can’t get better than that, right?” Travis said.

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“So we’re on top of the moon, we’re practicing, working out, getting ready for next season, hoping to go back-to-back and then just to hear that, is like a shot to the gut.”

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While Travis and some of his teammates might have played their final collegiate baseball game, Mateo Marques is also heartbroken by the cancellation of all fall competition.

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“We’re all trying to cope with it,” said Marques, Ontario Tech University Men’s Soccer Captain.

The 21-year-old is coming off a torn ACL he suffered in an exhibition game last year but a return to the pitch has been delayed yet again.

“This is something we all look forward to, the season is one the biggest highlights of the whole year and it’s where we can connect with the school, the community, everyone has a great time, so it’s very, very disappointing,” said Marques.

The fall cancellation affects over 700 athletes and impacts all 30 Durham College and Ontario Tech teams.

While hockey and basketball seasons are delayed, the decision will completely wipe out the softball, rugby and soccer seasons.

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“You have to put the health of the student athletes first,” said Audra Sherman, women’s soccer coach at Ontario Tech University.

Sherman’s going into her first season as Ridgebacks coach.

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While she saw the writing on the wall, she’s optimistic that they could have a spring season instead.

“It kind of gives me some time to get to know the players and train with them and kind of set everything up,” said Sherman.

Dave Ashfield can only check out Vaso’s Field from afar as the facility is locked up.

While scholarships will be honoured, the sixth-year head coach is focused on making sure his team continues to get an education.

“Going to school is why they’re here , being a student athlete is something extra and above .. so the biggest thing for us right now is making sure they’re going to school and working towards the future,” said Ashfield, Durham College Lords Mens’ Soccer Coach.

While there might not be competition until Jan. 1, 2021, the hope is that teams around Ontario campuses will be able to return to training and exhibition games this fall, once health officials allow it.


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