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High School Sports

Season Interrupted: Norco softball ace Sarah Willis has Husky ambitions

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Throughout the spring, The Times will interview high school seniors whose athletic careers were cut short by the coronavirus outbreak.

Name: Sarah Willis

School: Norco

Sport: Softball, pitcher

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Key stats: 22-1 record in 2019 to lead the Cougars to Division 1 championship; 4-0, .421 batting average, two home runs in ’20 for 11-1 Norco

Summer plans: Hopes to be playing for her club softball team, the Corona Angels

Fall plans: Will attend the University of Washington

Pete Crow-Armstrong says a sports-free existence hasn’t been easy during the coronavirus shutdown: “Sports gives me a reason to be a kid and be free.”
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What she’s been doing since the season was suspended:

“I’ve been working out and running and pitching and hitting into the net in the garage. I’ve been texting my teammates almost every day, hoping the season wouldn’t be canceled, but we found out it was. That was depressing.”

On not getting the chance to say goodbye to her teammates:

“It’s been an experience just being able to play high school softball. Not getting to play my last senior games is sad, but it’s bigger than just being a softball player. It’s more about being in the real world now.”

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What she misses most without sports:

“Being with my teammates every time we go out to sixth period and put on our cleats and talk about our day and the freshmen making jokes. We went to the beach a couple months back for team bonding and got attacked by seagulls. We went laser tagging. We played hacky sack. All the little things keep me going.”

Fans were ready to fill the bleachers in Arcadia this weekend to watch Nico Young of Newbury Park launch his bid to break the 3,200 meters national record.

How the sports stoppage has changed her life:

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“It’s hard mentally trying to go out every day to work out not knowing if I’m going to get to play this summer with my travel ball team or in the fall when I’m going to college. I’ve been hanging out with my little sisters a lot more. We play card games every day. I play video games and have been binge-watching Netflix shows.”

On the anticipation of getting back onto the field:

“I’ll be real excited and exuberant seeing my teammates again. But also sad we’re not going to be able to play again.”

Video interviews of each athlete can be found at latimes.com/sports/highschool.


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