Senior tennis players quarantined at the worst time


Keira Coleman, Roar Staff Writer

I’d like to think that we tried everything in our power to still make it to the games, but COVID-19 won,” Ben Burgess said.

On March 29, seniors Vaughn Addington, Ben Burgess and Luke Marzano were quarantined for coming in contact with a COVID-19 positive classmate, creating complications as they were forced to miss the final matches of their high-school tennis careers.

“Our season was shot in the head by COVID-19,” Burgess said. “One of my best friends, Vaughn and I ended up missing the last five tennis matches of our senior season because of quarantine.”

The school district clarified in a report released in December that it collaborates with the Florida Department of Health to enforce any new recommendations given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report stated that all asymptomatic contacts to a case would now only have to quarantine from school for 10 days instead of the original 14 days. This shortened quarantine period would not, however, include students returning to sports as they would still have to abide by the 14-day time period. 

“We were allowed back to school on Tuesday, April 6, which was 11 days since we had been in contact with the COVID-19 positive person,” Addington said. “It doesn’t make sense that there’s still an extended time for sports since we’re in closer contact with people at school than we are at tennis — by quite a lot, too. I was actually quarantined with my doubles partner so when playing doubles, we’re not even that close to anybody else. It’s annoying that we weren’t allowed back to play tennis on Tuesday, but it’s OK. I’m moving past that.”

Burgess, who has been Addington’s doubles partner for two years, said he’s disappointed that he doesn’t get to finish the season playing alongside his teammate.

“Vaughn and I have been hyped up about our senior tennis year since the beginning of eleventh-grade year,” Burgess said. “We have been undefeated for the last 30 games at line-two doubles. We wanted to keep our season strong so we would be able to look back at these times and think about how we went undefeated for so long, but we can’t now because of COVID-19. We are still undefeated, though, which is pretty raw.”

The boys’ tennis Senior Night had been scheduled to occur during one of the last games of the season. When their coach realized that they wouldn’t be able to make their Senior Night, he moved the date so all of the seniors could receive recognition. 

“Our coach moved [Senior Night] to be on a district game night,” Addington said. “I’m thankful we are still having one, but this is disappointing. We’re supposed to have our Senior Night against an easier match where we can play all the seniors in our starting line up and feel confident that we are going to win it. But at a district game, now this will be interesting.”

Burgess called the situation unfortunate.

“Senior Night is one of those things that you look forward to your whole time in high school,” Burgess said. “It’s where everyone recognizes you for your hard work on the team and your commitment. Stripping what should have been a normal night for me, stinks. I mean there’s really no other way to describe it.”

Even though the season has ended with him being quarantined, Addington said he is happy with how the team has performed overall. 

“Our current team record is 12-3 — even with three of us being out for the last four, about to be five, matches,” Addington said. “I think that we have a solid shot making it through districts to regionals. Our only big competition is going to be Edgewood Jr./Sr. High School. But I don’t really know how we line up against them since I was quarantined during the first match played against them.”