HELENA -- With the suspension, and eventual cancellation, of the 2019 high school spring sports season, many are still left to wonder if there will be a fall sports season. Nevertheless, at 7 a.m. Friday before the Fourth of July weekend, the Helena High cross country team was busy preparing for a season that may never come.
“I think they're aware of that. I mean, most of these kids were track athletes, so they've had their hearts broken once. It's a matter of balancing that hope. They're hopeful that we are able to do something," said first-year coach Jesse Zentz. "I think for them, it's just being with each other and getting out here and working hard for each other, having that culture develop, of that commitment that they show up for each other every day. I think that's what's carrying their hope right now. We just try to be as positive as possible.”
In spite of that uncertainty, the Bengals continue to grind. Looking to use the summer months to get better and, as Helena High senior Maddy Murgel said, make up for lost time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think it makes a huge difference, especially being on lockdown, like just getting out and seeing people and new faces," said Murgel. "It makes a difference and I think it really improves your athletic ability because you're more encouraged when you're around your teammates.”
Above all, there is optimism stowed away in high school athletes in Montana and across the country that they’ll be able to toe the starting line or set foot on the court this fall.
“I'm pretty bummed out thinking about it. It is a big bummer, but it is what it is," said senior Dallin Christensen. "Move on. If it is taken away this year, hopefully, we'll get a track season. Yeah, we'll get that at least.”