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The pandemic’s affect on recruiting felt by high schoolers

High school athletes wanting to play at the next level have to do enough during their high school career to garner attention, but for seniors around the country lost seasons could affect their chances of moving up.

Destiny Hannah is a junior soccer and tennis player at Picayune Memorial High School.

Hannah is already being recruited for her soccer skills and she still has another year to gain exposure and bring in more offers.

In the past Hannah attended college soccer camps to sharpen her game and learn from coaches at the next level.

All of those camps have been cancelled, which means less exposure and less time learning from talented athletes who may have helped Hannah earn more looks from college programs.

“There were college coaches and college girls, and it gave us perspective on how they play, how they warm up and the environment there. I really liked that because I need perspective because that’s how I learn,” Hannah said.

Breyanna Bernard is a senior member of the Pearl River Central Lady Blue Devils basketball team, which went 18-11 this past season.

Bernard filled up the stat sheet and was a force in the paint for the Lady Blue Devils.

Following her performances this season, she started searching to see if there were any programs interested in signing her.

That process has not only been slowed by the pandemic, but Bernard said she also can’t visit campuses to see if the fit is right for her were she to get an offer.

“(All communication) was through emails and now they really don’t respond as much during the pandemic and stuff. Now with everything shut down we can’t visit campuses or anything,” Bernard said.

Mason Watkins, a senior runner at PMHS, will be attending Meridian Community College on an athletic scholarship thanks to his accomplishments in cross-country and track and field.

Watkins said that even though he had his destination planned out prior to the cancellation of spring sports, he’s hoping colleges are understanding of the situation affecting seniors when deciding who to bring in.

“I’m not in their shoes, but I would just hope the colleges will understand the season was canceled and look at how they did last year. It’s unfortunate,” Watkins said.

Hannah said that while she still has another season to improve her game, there are athletes across the country who were hoping to catch a college’s eye with their performances this spring.

“It affects everybody, especially seniors. The seniors don’t have another year, this is their last year and it got taken away from them. It sucks because I have a lot of senior friends, too,” Hannah said.