The Illinois State University golf team was looking for a strong start to the 2020 season, and they did just that by placing first in the Little Rock Intercollegiate.
The Redbirds continued their strong season all the way until the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate.
They were preparing to play in the Mission Inn Spring Spectacular on March 14, until suddenly all spring sports were canceled due to the coronavirus. ISU head coach Ray Kralis was stunned when he heard the news.
“We were on spring break and we had a few days to prep before the tournament and we heard some colleges were closing down. In the next 24 hours everything was shut down. It left us all stunned because we had not experienced anything like that,” Kralis said.
“From a competitive standpoint it is heartbreaking. On a different scale to see the impact that it had globally was a reminder it is bigger than us. There was a lot of emotion with it.”
Senior David Perkins was having a spectacular season, finishing top 10 in multiple tournaments and was looking to continue his strong play. Perkins was named to the PING All-Midwest Region squad. Senior Joel Durnford was also having a good season, and both were looking for a run to the postseason.
“The players were a little shocked, especially Joel and David. We had a good year and hopes of finishing strong with a lot of tournaments still coming up. We knew there was a possibility to play in the post season,” said Kralis.
The most upsetting thing for the team was how well they were doing before the cancellation.
Perkins in his final season was having his best one yet.
“They were shocked. And the fact that we were having a good season really stung. My heart breaks for David Perkins, he was having a season like no one else has ever had.”
Still, even though the players and coaches are upset about the season being over there is still hope for next season. They will look to bring the strong play from the 2020 season into the 2021 season.