State agency officially calls off high school spring sports

The Florida High School Athletics Association is pulling the plug on the spring sports season, according to a statement the organization released Monday.

Despite the need to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, it means four years of hard work cut short for all of Florida's high school senior athletes.

"I had so many emotions after that. First in shock, like, I really didn't want to believe it," Bartow High School senior softball player Gabi Schaal said.

The announcement comes just days after Governor DeSantis ordered K-12 distance learning to continue through the rest of the school year.

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“We are deeply saddened for our student-athletes who have seen their seasons and/or high school careers end so abruptly," the organization said in a statement Monday.

Schaal is one of several seniors on Bartow High School's softball team forced to end out their season before it really even starts.

"In the scheme of things, I guess high school sports isn't that big of deal, but for us, it's pretty much what we have been working to our entire high school career. It's pretty much our whole lives right now, especially coming from our high school. Bartow softball is such a huge community," Schaal said.

Her season started in February, but by mid-March, it was put on hold. Schaal was one of many who were completely unaware their game on March 13 would be their last.

RELATED: Florida students will continue distance learning through rest of school year

"This team had so much potential and our work ethic was so strong it just sucks that it's being cut short like this," Schaal said.

Schaal and her team begin conditioning, going to workouts as many as five days a week, in early January. The hard work was all leading up to hopes of a possible state championship, but their dreams are now crushed with Schaal and her teammates left with just memories.

"I've just accepted that it's out of our control and obviously they are just trying to look out for the safety and health of everybody," Schaal said.

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

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