The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Varsity athletes celebrate their senior farewells

3 min read
seniors celebrating

Beth Kelly accepting her senior gift. | Beth Kelly

By: Aniya Martinez

Celebrations for seniors on varsity sports teams will be different from the traditional this year. However, varsity teams have come up with new ways to celebrate their graduating athletes this season like designated senior days and gift-giving.  

“Each sports team is approaching celebrating graduating seniors a bit different,” said Patrick Catullo, director of Athletics.

Without senior days, fans are limited in the ways they can celebrate graduating varsity athletes.

Different plans are being used for each varsity sports team to celebrate their graduating seniors while still keeping their athletes safe. Many varsity sports teams have found creative ways to celebrate their graduating seniors or postpone celebrating them until a later date. Previously, the University did hold a ceremony to recognize the honors of their graduating varsity athlete seniors. 

“Some teams held modified senior days for their student-athletes during specified weeks of practices or competitions, while following MMDC policies, and others are postponing recognition days until the next academic year,” said Catullo.

Athletes with no season or a season cut short might not have the option to celebrate on a specific date during practice or competitions. Seniors that were injured and unable to play this season may benefit from being acknowledged for their accomplishments in the previous seasons they were able to play.

COVID restrictions limit the ways coaches can celebrate their graduating seniors. Some teams are ending this season without having a way to celebrate their graduating seniors.

Elizabeth (Beth) Kelly, a senior Psycholinguistics and Elementary Education major, talked about how the women’s varsity swim team celebrated its graduating seniors.

“My swim team threw a senior recognition that was approved by the school. Each senior was able to invite three guests, and our entire team was able to sit six feet apart along the pool deck”, said Kelly.

Kelly said that the women’s team went first with recognitions and speeches, and the guests were able to sit in the stands. Kelly invited her parents and best friend, Nancy Martin.

“It was so special, because each senior was able to be recognized with all of our coaches, our whole team, and our guests right there,” says Kelly. 

With this celebration, the seniors received gifts from their teammates.

“The junior class bought each senior a special gift, and everyone on the team wrote a note of appreciation for each senior,”said Kelly.

“Since the swim team already had a senior recognition that was in-person and approved by the school, we won’t be having another virtual recognition”,said Kelly. 

“However, I believe we are having a virtual banquet for the whole team at some point”, said Kelly.

“Collectively, we are hopeful for a “new normal” next year where we can welcome back our classes of 2020 and 2021 at Homecoming and acknowledge all of their achievements during their four years,” said Catullo.

However, there is still uncertainty surrounding the acknowledgment of the classes of 2020 and 2021 at homecoming next year.  Many of the plans would be based on restrictions such as MMDC will be able to accommodate gatherings of a larger group of athletes.

The “new normal” may include allowing these varsity sports athletes seniors that graduated in 2020 and 2021 to be celebrated in front of fans, family, and all varsity sports teams together instead of smaller celebrations for each sport. 

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