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Mount Zion softball player Kynzie Wrigley among many waiting to hear about senior season

Mount Zion softball player Kynzie Wrigley among many waiting to hear about senior season

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Kynzie Wrigley (copy)

Mount Zion's Kynzie Wrigley celebrates during the Class 3A state tournament last season at EastSide Centre in East Peoria.

MOUNT ZION — Rumors were running rampant during a softball practice, one before sports' great pause happened.

Kynzie Wrigley, a senior infielder at Mount Zion who is signed to play at Division I Southeast Missouri State next season, had heard that the IHSA had canceled spring sports in their entirety in wake of the COVID-19 world pandemic. She was fraught with emotion and ran to head coach Greg Blakey and athletic director Ben Davis for confirmation or, preferably, to hear them dispel the rumor.

No, they told her, spring sports hadn't been cancelled. They have been postponed, though, as schools across the state have shut their doors in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. By the time Wrigley got home from that practice, her mother told her the NCAA Tournament was canceled — an early cancellation in what has been a string of cancellations or postponements — and Wrigley saw some writing on the wall.

“I was like there is no way the IHSA is just going to ignore that," Wrigley said by phone Monday. "I came home and prayed that the IHSA was going to postpone (the spring season), which they’ve done. I’m glad they didn’t cancel it all together right away. We’ll see how it ends up."

Now high school athletes who play spring sports are in a holding pattern to see if any bit of the season will be played. Wrigley is hitting where she can, lifting weights and working as if the call will come that at some point she'll have another chance to put on her jersey before she plays college softball.

She has a signed National Letter of Intent that gives her a college home after she leaves Macon County. She doesn't have to worry about missing games that scouts could have seen and frantically trying to find a place to play after high school. But that doesn't change the present. The final run with a team that has finished fourth and third place in Class 3A in the last two seasons is still shrouded in mystery.

“I think it’s two separate things because I’ve grown up here and I’ve grown up with Coach Blakey being my coach," Wrigley said. "I was just excited to experience this last (year) like the other seniors got to experience their last first game and their last game on the field. Being that probably won’t happen this season; it’s upsetting. I’m excited for college because I know that I get to continue doing what I love, but I wanted to finish on Mount Zion’s field."

Wrigley said the news has been made somewhat easier by having the state runs of each of the last two seasons. She said her room is full of the medals the Braves picked up at EastSide Centre in East Peoria and her phone is full of photos from the team hotel to the team bus.

Without those, this situation might be a little more difficult. The Braves aren't doing their standard Saturday morning team breakfasts as they typically do, but those memories didn't disappear.

“For me, it makes it better that we had those two seasons because I feel very blessed that I’ve been able to go to state twice," Wrigley said. "We are expecting to have a winning season this season and go back to state. I think it would be worse if we didn’t have those past two seasons. We’re very humbled to know what we’ve been to state twice, and a lot of people can’t say that."

Now the Braves, like all spring athletes around the state, sit and wait for an update. Wrigley is holding out hope for more games in her Mount Zion uniform, more starts at shortstop and one more round of memories before starting college softball.

Blakey will be there, too, waiting for an update and a sense of normalcy.

“That was a little tough telling them that they were done; I’ve never had to tell a group of kids that before," Blakey said. "For 30 years, it’s all I’ve done in the spring is coach softball, so I don’t know how to handle my dead time and I’m sure most of the kids are the same way. It was a little tough. I just want them to stay sharp physically and mentally. Hopefully it will break and we’ll get to play at some point."


PHOTOS: Mount Zion takes third in Class 3A last season

Contact Joey Wagner at (217) 421-6970. Follow him on Twitter: @mrwagner25

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