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Photo by Wayne Armstrong

Classes and concerts can be put online easily enough, but if there’s one area where the virtual version just doesn’t cut it, it’s in the world of sports. 

Hundreds of Pioneer student-athletes have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the NCAA’s decision to cancel the spring season, including the gymnastics squad, which was set to host the NCAA Regionals in April, and the hockey team, whose regionals were set for the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado, in late March.

“I think the lesson to be learned, or one of the many, is that life’s a fragile thing,” says David Carle, the Richard and Kitzia Goodman head coach in hockey. “Our game is fragile, and it can be taken from you at any moment. So enjoy it, appreciate it, and be grateful that you get to do it. Any chance you get to put the skates on and go on the ice, have a sense of gratitude.”

Nine other sports were affected: men’s and women’s golf; skiing (whose NCAA Championships were canceled halfway through the competition); men’s and women’s lacrosse; men’s soccer; men’s swimming and diving; and men’s and women’s tennis. The cancellations were especially hard for seniors like gymnast Maddy Karr, who, prior to the shutdown tied DU’s all-time record score in the all-around; became the Pioneers’ record holder for most individual career titles; and tied her career highs on all four events.

“Missing the Big 12 Championships and the NCAA regionals at home is definitely a tough pill to swallow,” she says. “I was looking forward to the postseason because I was doing the best gymnastics of my career, and I love to compete. I’m sad I couldn’t have that one last meet in Magness.”

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