The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association canceled spring state championships last month because of Gov. Jay Inslee closing schools for the remainder of the academic year because of the coronavirus outbreak. The decision left seniors in baseball, softball, boys soccer, golf, tennis and track and field without a finale to their high-school careers. We’ll spotlight a few of those student-athletes in a weekly Sunday series.
Name: Wen Eckelberg
School: Cleveland High School
Accomplishments: Eckelberg is a fourth-year, three-sport varsity athlete. In volleyball, she earned 2019 first-team all-Metro League South Division honors. Eckelberg was part of Cleveland’s 2018 girls basketball Metro League championship and climbed the ranks to earn the No. 1 slot in singles for Eagles tennis.
Best high-school memory: Singles competition in the Metro League is typically last, and Eckelberg cherished how her teammates always stayed until the end to cheer for everyone.
Quarantine tip: Go outside. Eckelberg first used the quarantine time to relax but found she felt better when taking breaks to do something active and outside the house.
The skinny: A rarity has a rare finish due to the global pandemic.
Eckelberg thought about specializing in volleyball as a youth but instead chose to play three sports in high school with the goal of playing varsity in all three for four years — a rare feat for modern high-school athletes. Although one season shy of the goal, Eckelberg also competing in volleyball and basketball provided an opportunity to be celebrated as a senior athlete despite missing her tennis season because of the coronavirus outbreak.
“This would’ve been my first year as No. 1 singles, so I was really excited,” Eckelberg said. “I love playing sports. Soccer was the first and in middle school I played two sports at a time. I just take pride in representing my school, so whatever opportunity there is for me to compete and represent my school, I always want to take part in that.”
Returning to the court was also significant because Eckelberg was diagnosed with Ulcerative colitis last year. She dropped 20 pounds and missed part of the tennis season.
“Even with volleyball and basketball this year, I didn’t feel 100 percent,” said Eckelberg, who’ll attend the University of Washington in the fall. “I always believe that you have to come through for your team, so I didn’t miss a game. But my volleyball ‘senior night,’ I wasn’t doing well at all. I sucked it up because I really wanted to be there for my teammates and I really wanted to win. Now I feel lucky because some (senior tennis teammates) don’t have a season at all.”