Unfinished Business: Negaunee Track & Field wondering what could have been after season cancellation

Sports

NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WJMN) – The Negaunee Girls Track and Field team has found a lot of success over the recent years.

They captured their 10th straight MPC championship, were named the Lions Invitational, and WIN Meet champions and were runners-up at the U.P Finals, Last season. But unfortunately, they won’t be able to build on that momentum. The cancellation of their season has left their talented senior class with some unfinished business.

This was supposed to be ‘their year.’ But, due to the coronavirus pandemic, their season would never manifest, leaving the miners wondering what if.

“I was devastated for lack of a better word and I think they made a good decision, we have to definitely pay attention to what’s best for our student-athletes. But at the same time, it was still heartbreaking,” said Vickie Paupore, the head coach for the Negaunee Girls Track & Field team.

Vickie Paupore has been coaching track and field at Negaunee for 24 years and was looking forward to leading what she described as her most talented senior class she’s ever had.

“The talent of this group was enormous. All four of these girls have been U.P. Champions, U.P. Runners-up multiple times. They’re school record-holders. There is so much unfinished business for this class and I think that is going to be the hardest thing for this season.”

For the student-athletes, the reality of not being able to take the track for their senior season was heartbreaking.

“I was devastated,” said Talon Prusi, a senior on the team.

“We knew it was going to happen, but I don’t know, it just still doesn’t feel real,” added Chloe norman, a senior for the Miners.

“So, I was devastated. I was like all this hard work in our class it just feels like it’s just nothing. I knew we were going to have a fantastic season, so it was just kind of hard for me,” said Emily Paupore, the daughter of Vickie and a senior on the Negaunee Track team.

“I feel like all of us can agree that we all still don’t feel like it’s real,” added Abbie Tollefson, another senior on the team.

The good news, the story doesn’t end here for this talented group of student-athletes. All four have signed to run at the college level.

“I’m going to St. Norbert College in De Pere and I’m going to be majoring in Business Administration,” said Tollefson.

“I’m going to be going to Grand Valley State University for Bio-medical Engineering,” said Norman.

“I’m going to be attending Central Michigan University and I’m going to be majoring in Elementary-Education with an emphasis on science and minoring in Spanish,” said Paupore.

“I will be attending Northern Michigan University to study Nursing,” added Prusi.

They’ll carry with them the lasting memories and unforgettable moments they had while dawning the blue and yellow at Negaunee.

“Going to the football and the basketball games and just seeing everyone come together. Know that we’re seniors we know the people that are playing. We see them in the hall every day and then we see them on the court or on the field and it’s just really cool to be able to make that connection,” said Tollefson when asked what she’ll remember most about her time at NHS.

“Definitely my friends. I think our grade was pretty close. Just this community. I transferred to Negaunee my freshman year and I think everybody just welcomed me really good and just made it feel like home right away,” added Norman.

“I think I’m going to miss most my teammates and just my coaches and my support system,” said Paupore.

“I’m going to miss the cross country and track team because they were so supportive,” added Prusi.

“You know, every day that passes, I think for us Spring sports coaches, it’s difficult and that we see on our calendar meets that would have happened. It’s hard not to reflect on those and what we’re missing. But, at the same time, we’ve had such good memories with our students and I think they know that they will always be apart of our lives even though we can’t have the season together. You know, they will always have a special place in our hearts and this class, for sure, for me, will always be a class that I cherish,” concluded Vickie Paupore.

We here at Local 3 want to wish the best of luck to all four of these talented seniors on their future endeavors!

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