Colorado high school athletes’ historic milestones in jeopardy as potential coronavirus cancellations loom
MLB 

Valor Christian distance runner Cole Sprout and Holy Family golfer Hailey Schalk consider themselves lucky in the grand scheme of sports.

The coronavirus pandemic has not slowed their individual training. Sprout, who has a scholarship to run at Stanford next fall, is putting in roughly 60 miles per week. Schalk, a soon-to-be University of Colorado golfer, has played Colorado National daily since the course reopened with new social distancing requirements.

“I’ve still run by myself practically every day,” Sprout said.

“I’m glad I can still play and practice,” Schalk said.

With the suspension of spring seasons, and possible outright cancellations on the horizon, few Colorado high school athletes feel the sting quite like Sprout and Schalk, who headline a group of elite competitors whose legendary careers may not finish with storybook endings.

Sprout is arguably the greatest prep distance runner in Colorado history. The seven-time state champion between cross and country and track was considered a lock to defend his titles in the mile and two-mile races. Sprout also aimed to break the nearly 40-year-old state record in the 1,600-meter (4:10.9) set by Rich Martinez of Widefield in 1981.

“For the most part, they were just time goals, but I definitely wanted to make some impact on the state level and help my team win again,” said Sprout, MileSplit’s No. 2 ranked overall recruit for the 2020 class. “It has definitely been an incredible experience and I’m super lucky to have had the opportunity. I really don’t think I would be here today without coach (Greg) Copeland, the team, and everybody I’ve met who’s helped shape me and helped me grow.”

Schalk entered her senior season at Holy Family with three individual state titles and was on the verge of becoming Colorado’s first four-time golf champion, boys or girls. She now anxiously waits for her next chance to play competitively with national tournaments being cancelled as far out as June.

“My goal has always been to win four state championships since my freshman year,” Schalk said. “It’s disappointing because our team was really talented this year and we won our first league tournament by quite a bit. I was really looking forward to representing Holy Family and possibly getting a team state championship for the school.”

The silver lining for both athletes is the ability to train during the pandemic.

“Looking out on the countryside during my runs, you wouldn’t even know what was happening,” Sprout said. “It’s special to have those moments where you can disconnect from what’s happening, re-center yourself and take some time to have a little bit of peace.”

SPRING STANDOUTS

A selection of senior Colorado high school athletes whose career achievements should be recognized with the cancellation of spring seasons amid the coronavirus pandemic looking like a distinct possibility.

Max Hewitt, Kent Davis boys lacrosse — Two-time state championship runner-up and midfielder committed to play at Navy.

Ella Marks, Colorado Academy girls lacrosse — Goalie in pursuit of a fourth state title committed to Dickinson College.

Lukas Miller, Legacy boys swimming — Multiple state titles, record-holder in the 200 freestyle, committed to NC State.

Mallory Mooney, Broomfield girls soccer — Scored 22 goals last season with All-American honors and will play at Auburn.

Jacob Thompsen, Regis Jesuit baseball — Defending Class 5A state champion shortstop committed to play at Long Beach State.

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