Tough time for juniors in high school looking to get recruited

Posted at 4:45 PM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-04 16:45:49-04

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — When it comes to playing sports, Jillian Bernas has had a rough year.

"The day after I got cleared, they called and were like, yea our season is probably gonna get cancelled," she said. "So it hurt a lot."

The junior at St. Mary's Lancaster suffered an injury in the fall that cut her soccer season short. Now it's her lacrosse season, taken away after the remainder of the school year was officially cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"You think we could've gotten back, there was a chance," Bernas said. "Now we only have senior year, it's difficult."

Many Western New York High School Athletic departments took to Twitter Friday afternoon upon heading the news that spring sports, as a result of the reminder of the academic school year being cancelled, were officially a no-go.

It's a difficult pill to swallow, especially for those juniors hoping to be recruited by college coaches.

"We're like at the bottom of the food chain right now," Canisius junior baseball player Vincent Mauro said. With the NCAA, what they did, they gave back the year of eligibility so now they're looking at their guys and looking how to fill their roster instead of recruiting us."

Mauro uses the varsity season as a warm-up for travel ball. While the unknown is scary the work doesn't stop, especially if you want that next opportunity.

"I've got a tee down in the basement, I've got dumb bells and a bench press," Mauro said. "I just keep working as if I'm gonna play the next day."

It's all one can do to stay positive.

That's what Brian Nephew Jr. of St. Joe's is doing. While this year would've been big for him, getting more playing time and establishing his game, he knows there's a bigger picture.

"It really gave me the time to think about the opportunities that I was given to step up my game, practice new moves, and be ready for that next season," Nephew said. "Gotta be ready for anything really."

It's all any young athlete can do: keep their head up, focus on what's ahead, and hope that the scholarships will be there when this is all over.

"Just gonna try and reach out to coaches and hope for the best," Bernas said.