The cancellation of the spring sports season was met with mixed reactions for many of the athletes at both Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe.
While some saw their prep athletic careers come to an abrupt end, others have taken it as an opportunity to better themselves in preparation for the next year.
Desert Vista senior JD Mettham found a silver lining in the cancellation of the spring sports season, as he announced his commitment to Loras College to continue his baseball career.
“The coaches and the team have been very welcoming to me,” Mettham said. “I wasn’t ready for my baseball career to end.”
Mettham played just eight games as a junior catcher for the Thunder, recording 18 put outs in limited action. In seven games this season before it was canceled, he recorded 30.
Since the season was canceled, Mettham has spent his time working out on his own to prepare for college ball.
He has set up his own gym at his home, working out there at least once a day. He also heads to a local park, where he and a couple of his friends will meet to hit and do field work in order to stay loose.
The thought of his senior season being taken away by under unfortunate circumstances has become easier to deal with, but he still wishes it could have ended differently. Especially given it ended with Desert Vista losing to Brophy and two more games being rained out.
“When I first realized my senior season was taken away I was upset especially since our previous game did not go how we wanted it to and our game scheduled 2 days later was canceled due to rain,” Mettham said.
Fellow Desert Vista senior Tyson Grubbs has used his time away from track and field to shift his focus back to football, where he will play for Northern Arizona University in the fall.
Grubbs gave himself a break when the track season was initially postponed two weeks. But as it became clear the season would likely not continue, he’s gotten back into it and when schedules align, has worked out with his sister, younger brother, Devon, and fellow senior Colton Grover.
“We felt our bodies kind of getting out of shape, so we got going again,” Grubbs said. “We started going on hikes or working out at a field. We will sometimes go to Colton’s because he has a gym setup in the garage.”
Grubbs enjoyed a breakout junior season in 2018, where he was on track for 1,000 yards rushing before a season-ending foot injury left him sidelined. Healthy for the start of his senior year, he picked up where he left off.
However, an ankle injury again sidelined him for two games. But even then, he finished the season with 1,004 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. His performance helped him earn a scholarship to NAU, where he signed in February.
He is still hoping to be able to head up to Flagstaff at some point this summer to begin workouts. In the meantime, he is in the process of setting up his own set of weights at his house to use when others aren’t available.
“We are trying to put a gym together at our house, too,” Grubbs said. “It’s not a lot but it’ll work for now. We just try to do anything we can.”
While seniors prepare to go on to the next phase of their athletic careers in college, those younger than them are preparing to make a statement when sports is able to return.
Robert Moore III wakes up every morning and completes online schoolwork to maintain his 4.0 GPA. He then heads outside for workouts, where he has become creative.
“It was difficult at first to find workouts, but I just thought of different things and looked up stuff on Twitter,” Moore said. “Usually I’ll eat, do some schoolwork then start a workout in the afternoon.”
The Mountain Pointe freshman played baseball, football and basketball for the Pride this past season after transferring from Chandler in January. He rotates his workouts through the week. If he isn’t taking batting practice, he is running at a local. His father even made a homemade barbell for him to lift weights while gyms are closed. If that isn’t an option, he can strap himself into a harness and pull the family’s Ram pickup truck behind a local shopping center.
“It helps a lot,” Moore said. “My favorite place to run mountains is at Sunray Park. I also have a VertiMax trainer that also helps. I do a little bit of everything.”
The overall sense of wanting to train and prepare for what is next spreads beyond the Ahwatukee boundaries.
Makayla Donahoo has leaned upon her best friend to stay active during the cancellation. The Red Mountain senior softball player routinely works out, juggling online schoolwork at the same time to prepare for Weber State.
If she isn’t at a park fielding ground balls or taking batting practice in the cage in her backyard, her and Mountain Pointe senior Theresa Wilsterman are running and doing other exercises.
“My college sent me monthly workouts to help stay in shape,” Donahoo said. “It’s a lot of body weight stuff and running. We usually try to meet up Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. If we can’t meet up in person then we Facetime on the phone.
“She keeps me motivated.”