Preble's Wagner and Duffney reflect on missing their spring sport

Green Bay Preble's Max Wagner will miss his senior season of baseball due to the Coronavirus. (Doug Ritchay/WLUK)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Green Bay Preble's Max Wagner couldn't wait for baseball season to start.

One of the best players in the state, the senior was looking to lead the Hornets to a fifth straight trip to the state tournament before embarking on his college career at Clemson.

Meanwhile, Preble junior Carley Duffney was itching to get on the track as she was focused on reaching the state track and field meet for a third straight year.

Tuesday, Wagner and Duffney received the news they expected, when the WIAA canceled the spring sports season due to COVID-19. Wagner would never hit a baseball this spring and Duffney would never clear a hurdle in competition.

"Being able to play varsity baseball throughout my high school career, I really wanted to be a four-year varsity player and now I won't have a chance to do that," said Wagner, a three-time Fox River Classic Conference player of the year. "It stinks. That's a cool accomplishment. It stinks for all seniors we can't lace it up one more time and play with some of your lifetime friends."

"I was thinking it was going to get canceled, but I still had hope, so I was ready for either answer," said Duffney, who qualified for the state meet last year in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles. "I was really sad. I felt really bad for all the seniors."

Wagner and Duffney, however, are somewhat lucky. Wagner will play baseball at Clemson and Duffney has another year of high school before moving onto the University of South Dakota to play basketball.

Doesn't matter now, though. They both had dreams crushed for this spring.

"I've been making workouts at home, hitting off a tee, running, just trying to stay in baseball shape, just in case our season would be able to go on," Wagner said. "Still going to keep preparing like we're going to have a baseball season.

"Our team had expectations to do something special this year, just like every other year. Knowing we can't prove anything, stinks. We can't control anything but I would've like to see what we could've done."

"It's sad, thinking I could have made it for my third year in a row and possibly my senior year and get that fourth year," Duffney said of reaching the state meet. "I could've (made it to the podium) at state and I was really looking forward to it."

Instead, Wagner and Duffney are like every other athlete in the state. They are "stuck" at home, finishing their school year digitally, knowing there's nothing else.

Wagner isn't just missing baseball, he may not have a graduation ceremony. He is scheduled to leave for Clemson the third week of June to prepare for his freshman season, so he knows he may never wear a cap and gown as a high school graduate.

"That's one of the most important times of your life, graduating from high school," he said. "Knowing we probably won't have a ceremony, we won't be able to see our friends we've been with since elementary, kind of hurts."

As for Duffney, she was entering her final summer of AAU basketball and she will miss competing with her friends.

"It's going to be hard," Duffney said. "Some of the girls I've been playing with since fourth grade, the friendships I made with them. I won't be able to play with them again."

Wagner is one of the fortunate seniors, in the fact his sports career is not completed, and he's looking forward to the next step.

"Hard work has paid off," Wagner said. "Every senior has been playing their sport for 'x-amount' of years, but not everyone goes onto the next level. I still get to show my talents at the next level."

And Duffney has a senior year to look forward to. The FRCC girls basketball player of the year last competed in a sectional semifinal and never thought it would be her last competition as a junior.

"I never would've thought; it didn't seem like it was that big of a thing," Duffney said. "We only had a week of track practice.

"I'm a real social person, so it's hard not to see my friends every day. It's hard for me to focus at home. It's a lot harder to do school work."

When society returns to the "new" normal, Duffney will look at things differently.

"I think it's going to be a lot different," she said. "I will enjoy things a lot more. I can't wait."

Unfortunately, Duffney, Wagner and the rest of society has to. We have no other choice.

Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay