By Adam Kolb / Co-Sports Editor

Due to the rising spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus, sports all around the world are cancelling or postponing their seasons, including the NJCAA.

That means the Hutchinson Community College women’s basketball team’s season has come to an abrupt end.

It was announced last week that the NJCAA Division 1 Men’s and Women’s basketball tournaments would be postponed until April 20. However, just four days after the postponement, the NJCAA decided to cancel all spring competition and remaining basketball championships, following the advice of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, to help keep everyone safe.

“It’s been something we’ve never experienced,” said Blue Dragon coach John Ontjes. “It’s been difficult.”

The Blue Dragons finished the season with a 28-4 record and were the 12-seed in the 24-team tournament. They had a date set to play 21-seed Tyler Junior College at 12:30 p.m. on March 17, in Lubbock, Texas.

“I’m just disappointed for our players,” Ontjes said.

While it is disappointing for all players, the level of heartbreak is felt even more by the sophomore players, including Abby Ogle. 

“I wasn’t shocked by the news of the tournament being cancelled, but I was very sad that that was the end of our season,” Ogle said. “We were ready to play at nationals and really thought we could make a run at nationals.”

Despite the unfortunate events that Ogle endured in the last week, there are still happy memories to look back on from her time as a basketball player at HutchCC.

“Some of my best memories at Hutch were from nationals last year, right after we won our game to make it into nationals, and we were celebrating in the locker room with coaches,” Ogle said. “But my favorite one from this year is when we beat Seward for the second time and won the conference.” 

Ogle is just one of five sophomores whose season was cut short. Brooklyn Betham, Lauryn Mapasua, Sasha Francis and Makayla Vannet were the other players who had usetting ends to the season. 

“I’ll miss the competitiveness they bring and (their) maturity,” Ontjes said.

Even though their season may have been cut short, the memories they have made here at HutchCC will always live on. 

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