Returning from injury, Cal’s Wilson, teammates season cut short
This was supposed to be Paige Wilson’s comeback season.
After missing all but six games last season due to injury, the redshirt junior was looking forward to a big season on the softball diamond for the Cal Vulcans.
Instead, she is one of the many student-athletes left trying to make sense of a season that was lost due to the COVID 19 Pandemic.
The former three-sport star at Warren Area High School, Wilson had a stellar first two seasons at Cal, being named the PSAC West Freshman of the Year in 2017, followed by an All-PSAC West First-Team selection in 2018.
“I’m kind of taking this cancellation hard because I was out all last season because of an injury,” she said. “So this was supposed to be my ‘comeback’ season. Like you work hard to get yourself healthy and ready to go and the season is just kind of snatched away from you.”
Wilson is the definition of a great student-athlete and put together one of the best four years by any athlete at WAHS in recent memory. She was a standout for coach Mike Dolan’s volleyball program, finishing in the top five in program history in kills. A 1,000-point scorer for Lisa LaVan’s girls basketball team, she played an instrumental role in helping the program to its first District 10 title in school history in 2016.
It was on the softball diamond where she shined the most, however, playing for coach Mark Bupp. She was selected First-Team All-State at catcher as both a junior and senior, helping lead the squad to back-to-back D-10 crowns.
All those accolades aside, she’s an even better student, going to Cal for Pre-Med with a minor in chemistry.
She, along with her teammates, understand the reasons the season had to be canceled but were nevertheless devastated.
“The coronavirus cancellations have been devastating and frustrating to all spring athletes, especially the seniors,” she said. “For my team, we had one senior who is absolutely devastated because she can’t play the game she loves anymore. The NCAA granted waivers for everyone but our school doesn’t have our senior’s masters program so she loses out on an entire season.”
The Vulcans were fresh off a trip to Florida, playing their last game against Nyack (NY) on March 12. They were scheduled to open PSAC play on March 27 against Slippery Rock.
“We played our last games in Florida and didn’t even realize that those would be our last games,” she said. “I guess the saying is true to play every game like it’s your last because anything can happen.”
Wilson’s younger sister, Rachel, also is a student-athlete at Cal as a key cog for the women’s golf team. She was also joined on the softball diamond by a fellow former Dragon, freshman Ellie Lobdell.
Bright days lie ahead, but for Wilson, along with her teammates, this hasn’t been easy.
“Personally, I definitely understand the reasoning behind it, but I wish the season was just postponed for a month or so and then things were re-evaluated to see if we could possibly have a shortened/modified season to give the seniors a chance to enjoy the last games of the season and get a proper senior day where we celebrate them and all of their accomplishments,” she said.