190521_D2TRACK05 (copy)

Clinton’s Sylvia Johansen had a chance to be a four-time state champion before COVID-19 knocked her sophomore year out. 

The spring of 2020 can be best described as one gut punch after another. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has effectively buried months of lifelong memories in the rubble. 

Let's be real here, there's not a lot of positives in this whole ordeal. The best Bucks team of my lifetime was on its way to a potential championship. 

Now, even if they should come home with the trophy, the accomplishment will be accompanied by a giant asterisk. 

The Brewers were set to field another competitive team. Whatever bastarized, fan-less experience the MLB is going to throw out there for 80 games are so simply won't measure up to the real thing. 

And playing games in an empty Lambeau Field might be the most depressing thought of it all on a more national scale. 

Can you tell I'm a little depressed? 

OK, let's stick to locals, and I'll try to put a positive spin on this thing. Here are the things I was most looking forward to on the prep scene. 

1. Before we even get to the spring season, I must mention perhaps the biggest disappointment in the spring: The Turner boys hoops team losing the chance to play for the first state berth in school history. 

While I'm not sure Turner could have won the whole thing, getting to the Kohl Center would have been a record-setting accomplishment. Falling one game short, through no fault of their own, is a cruel reality. 

The fact that the team was senior-dominated made it all the worse. While the Trojans will still be strong for years to come, it might be a long time before we see a team that close to the ultimate goal. 

2. Clinton's Sylvia Johansen. The Cougars star sophomore had an excellent chance to be a four-time state champion. That is out the window for the girl who set the WIAA Division 2 state record in the 100-meter dash as a freshman. 

Johansen would have also had the chance to win state in the 200, while all four members of the team's state-qualifying 4x100 relay team was back and ready to challenge for a place on the podium. 

The good news? Johansen still has two more years to make history. 

3. Hononegah baseball. The Indians, behind Payton Mather, had a great chance for a deep playoff run. They had a solid lineup and a pitching staff full of terrific arms, led by their ace, Mather. 

The Indians have always run into a brick wall in the sectionals. This year could have been different. 

4. Beloit Memorial softball. The Purple Knights returned a talented crew that was just one game away from the WIAA Division 1 state tournament last year. 

Jacey Walker is terrific in the circle and she was surrounded by a cast of talented, experienced players. A run to Madison was a real possibility. 

5. Turner baseball. The Trojans have turned into the area's most reliable option for excellence in the spring. Drew Ries, Preston Viens and a ton of returning talent was set to have Turner competing for a spot near the top of the Rock Valley Conference. 

Another thing I loved the spring for: My last chance to say goodbye to the seniors, participating in their final high school activities. Or, in some cases, simply running into them in the stands at a baseball or softball game. 

While my annual favorite seniors column will run in a few weeks, it's the Class of 2020 who I feel for the most. 

As things eventually fade back to normal, or what will pass for normal, I will always have a place in my heart for a group of kids who never got their senior skip day, final home game or walk across the stage. 

Stay safe everyone, and we'll see you again soon.