Susquehanna University senior Chris Petraskie was all set to compete in the NCAA Division III Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships, but then the day before he was supposed to hit the track, he got the last phone call he ever wanted.
The four-time Landmark Conference Indoor Field Athlete of the Year got the news from his head coach Ethan Senecal that he would not be able to perform at nationals due to the coronavirus causing the NCAA to cancel the major event.
“I was a bit confused at the cancellation, considering all the athletes for the competition were already practicing at the facility for two days, and we were to compete within the next 24 hours. ... I still have one year of eligibility. However, I’m not sure if that will change,” Petraskie said.
The former Shamokin Area student said it’s good to be with family during this trying time, but he’s still upset about the turn of events.
“This whole situation has been absolutely insane. I’m still thinking about all of my options moving forward, and haven’t come to a conclusion what my next move will be. Being at home with my family and friends is nice, but I’m still upset to not be at school,” Petraskie added.
Even though Petraskie’s athletic future at SU is still a bit uncertain, he’s enjoyed his time in the maroon and orange.
“I take much pride in what I’ve done at Susquehanna. I wish more than anything for another four years. The past indoor season was one I will never forget and I am proud to look back on what I accomplished,” he said.
Petraskie reached the All-Landmark First Team in the high jump (6.3 feet) and in the long jump (22.9 feet).
“I think the best moment would be my last meet at regionals. I competed the best I had all year and gave all seven events everything I had, and it paid off,” Petraskie said.
Despite nationals getting axed, Petraskie is still interested in competing and will continue to take the necessary time to figure out his future plan.
“I have not yet planned anything as far as coaching goes, but it is definitely something I’m interested in. I’m still not ready to quit competing, so I’ll still be considering my options in the next couple weeks,” he said.
Petraskie said he’s learned a lot during his track and field days, which includes being able to understand how much of a mental game the sport is. He added that he’s learned much more about himself and life in general due to the sports impact.
“One of the biggest challenges I faced was competing as a multi. My coach, friends and family pushed me to be the athlete and person I am today. This whole situation is another challenging mental step that the sport has thrown at me, which just shows how much it teaches me every day,” Petraskie said.