The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

Seniors leave it all on the field, court

Junior Mea Hook talks to junior Blakely Hockett and senior Kylie Peel during the April 15 loss to O’Fallon.

As a senior, every moment can feel like the last. Last home game. Last race in the rain. Last tournament in Chicago. You’re counting down the days. Or at least, it seems like you are, until it’s finally here. 

For a fall-sport senior athlete, that day has come and gone. The season concluded with a final football game on Nov. 11, signifying the end of the three-month season. 

Senior Wyatt Kolnsberg, a four-year varsity football player who has been involved with football since he played for Little Tigers, has looked forward to his senior season since he was young. 

“I’d say I looked forward to it the most because I knew we had a special group of boys and we were going to do something special for Tiger Football,” Kolnsberg said. “We have an athletic class and I was excited to play with my [team].”

Kolnsberg ended his high school career at the quarterfinals game in York, Chicago, where the Tigers lost 36-29; the game also meant the end of a career for all five senior starters, who had been playing football before walking through the doors at EHS as freshmen. 

The weekend prior, EHS’ cross country teams ended their seasons with record high finishes at the state competition. Senior Maya Lueking, who established herself as an essential part of the Tigers’ roster as one of the four runners qualifying for state all four years (if not for COVID), raced her last meet in Peoria.

“On one hand I was excited because the atmosphere at state is very loud and exhilarating,” senior Maya Lueking said. “But I was also realizing that it would be my last time competing for high school.”

Like Lueking, senior Alyssa Wise faced her last high school tennis match in an intense match at the state tournament. From her rookie season to her final match, Wise’s presence every time she stepped foot on the court fell nothing short of consistent and competitive.

“I was sad knowing it would be my last high school match, but I was proud of myself for finishing as well as I did,” Wise said. “I had accomplished all of the goals that I set for myself at the beginning of the season, so I played the last match with no regrets and just focused on enjoying every minute of it.”

But for athletes who are forced to say one final “goodbye” to their sport in high school, the end can be bittersweet. After spending four — or sometimes more — years dedicating your mind and body to the only outlet you’ve ever known, departing can be extremely difficult.

“I will miss competing with my teammates and the support my coaches have given me,” Lueking said. “This [sport] has overall helped me grow as a person and runner.”

But more than just athletic skill, sports can give athletes “an avenue to make friendships that will last for a lifetime,” cross country senior Austin Yamnitz said. “I’ll miss the  friendships that I have made along the way and [miss] being able to go out everyday and hang out with the people I love.”

For those who plan on continuing their athletic careers in college, the last game in high school can be a step towards collegiate opportunities.

“[Our coaches] always expect every girl to give their all during each match,” Wise said. “I think playing tennis with that mindset and working hard to meet their high expectations has really helped me in tennis and will continue to help me improve at the college level.”

In addition to Wise, senior Morgan Angle plans to continue her athletic career at Maryville University in the upcoming fall. 

“I am super excited that I get to continue my field hockey career,” Angle said. “I worked really hard to get this opportunity and I am just really happy that I found a place where I can continue my academic and athletic career.”

As a former captain, Angle led the field hockey team with 11 goals and 29 points. Aside from her skill as an athlete, Angle hopes the team continues to remember how to function as well as they did this past season.  As she departs from the Edwardsville Program, she leaves behind one piece of advice for her remaining teammates.

“Remember to be a team and connect with your teammates,” Angle said. “The connection you make with your teammates will not only help you on the field but give you a group of friends you can rely on in your everyday life.”