WHS Boosters honor senior athletes continuing sports in college with virtual “Signing Day”


Credit: Courtesy of Emily Chafe

Girls varsity tennis captain senior Mallory Leonard plays on the old courts that have since been replaced in construction. Leonard and her teammates have not been able to play on the new courts due to cancellations caused by COVID-19. “This season we were so excited to get to play on the new courts out front that we have been waiting for,” girls varsity tennis captain Emma Levy said. “It is sad to know I will never get to play a match on them.”

Ellie Tyska and Hailey Robinson

Since spring sports seasons have ended abruptly before they could properly begin, Wayland Boosters has honored its seniors who missed their last season at WHS and will be continuing their careers in college. In a series of Instagram posts, the Boosters have put pictures of senior athletes along with quotes from their coaches. In doing so, the Boosters have aimed to continue their role of supporting WHS athletics.

“Boosters is a group of parents and community members who actively encourage all aspects of the student-athletic experience,” Wayland Boosters parent Nancy Peter said. “We provide spirit, logistical, and financial support to the teams, players, coaches, and administration of Wayland High School and Middle School athletic programs.”

According to Peter, the Boosters hoped to spread a positive message in a time of uncertainty.

“The sole purpose of our Instagram account is to reach as many of our WHS students, knowing that Instagram is a very popular social media platform with our high school students,” Peter said. “We want to spread good news and let all of the students know Boosters is very proud of all of their accomplishments…We wanted to get as many people to see and celebrate our graduating senior athletes.”

Many seniors are experiencing great sadness about the loss of their season. Some, like girls varsity tennis captain senior Emma Levy, have been looking forward to this season for their whole career.

“It is pretty upsetting to miss my last season playing a sport in high school, and it was supposed to be my captain season which I had been my dream since I was a freshman,” Levy said. “[My co-captain senior] Mallory [Leonard] and I had some really fun things planned for the team this year, and it’s really hard to just watch that all disappear literally overnight.”

According to Levy, the tennis teams were looking forward to playing on the new courts that had been built during renovations this past fall. Due to the cancellations, the teams will not be able to practice or play on the courts.

“This season we were so excited to get to play on the new courts out front that we have been waiting for,” Levy said. “It is sad to know I will never get to play a match on them.”

With the posts, the Boosters intended to honor the students who would have been participating in Signing Day.

“One of my favorite events Boosters hosts in the Spring is our Signing Day celebration,” Peter said. “This event recognizes senior athletes that are committing to continue their sport in college next year. The class of 2020 had a very impressive number of 22 athletes. During the “in-person” signing day we would bring the athletes together along with their parents, friends, teammates, and coaches to celebrate them and talk about their athletic career at WHS. Obviously, that could not happen this Spring so we had to get creative. Our “Virtual Signing Day” was the brainchild of a few of our board members and we made it happen.”

Teams that have been working hard in the preseason have seen their progress come to a halt. Boys varsity lacrosse player Timmy Goodfellow feels that the good progress his team was making has been interrupted by the cancellation of the season.

“I’m very sad about missing my last year of high school lacrosse,” Goodfellow said. “We looked really good during preseason and for all that to be taken from us really hurts.”

Though many athletes are being honored with the Boosters posts, Levy feels that they have shown more recognition to athletes who will continue their careers than those who will be ending their careers upon graduating.

“There is not much that the school can do, but our coach has been awesome checking in on us making sure we know how much she wishes we were all playing tennis together right now,” Levy said. “It would have been nice for the school to maybe send out a note or like maybe send us our past team photos or something like that, there hasn’t been any recognition for the athletes who aren’t continuing their sport in college.”

Goodfellow, who will be playing lacrosse in college next year, feels that the school and Boosters have done a good job of honoring athletes.

“I think the school has definitely done a great job given the circumstances,” Goodfellow said. “They really tried to make us feel better but this whole situation just stinks. I really like the idea of the boosters Instagram because it’s a great way to honor the seniors who put lots of hard work into their sports over the past few years.”