It was just a few short weeks ago when Mac Carnell was mapping out his senior year at St. Ed’s and finalizing his plans for college. Today that feels like eons ago, when everything seemed to be fairly normal.
Back then Carnell was coming off a very gratifying fall cross country season, the winter basketball season was winding down with the team preparing for the district championship game, and a promising spring lacrosse season was looming.
That was an entirely fitting way for a senior student-athlete to say goodbye to a school he attended since kindergarten in 2006.
Carnell opted to stay in-state for college. His academic background was strong and acceptance letters quickly poured in. Early considerations were narrowed down to Ave Maria, Florida State University and Florida Gulf Coast University.
Then came the spring break that never ended and the new, not so normal. The following email from Carnell is of more recent vintage:
“Things in my household are a little hectic at the moment.
“I’ve been able to hang out with other STEDS seniors since the school was shut down (in small groups, of course), and the general consensus is simply disappointment. Many of us in the Senior Class have been at Saint Edward’s since middle school, and a good proportion of us are die-hards (meaning we have attended STEDS since at least kindergarten).
“Simply put, its gonna suck missing out on all the unique senior activities STEDS plans, like senior vs. faculty basketball, senior skip day, anything but cars day (seniors arrive at school via anything but a car), and senior walk. Right now many of us have already accepted that school will be closed for the rest of the year
“I’m also disappointed in the shutting down of spring sports. For me, it means missing out on my senior lacrosse season on a team looking to take a shot at a state championship. Yet, I can only imagine how other high school athletes looking to get recruited feel after having their chances to prove themselves on the field ripped away so suddenly.
“One slight upside to all this is that I now have more free time than I know what to do with. Because I only have online classes Monday, Tuesday and Friday, I have been able to pursue new hobbies and activities. I’ve gotten more serious with playing the guitar, went skim boarding for the first time in my life just a few days ago, and have created a garage-gym workout my friend and I complete daily.
“Speaking of online classes, I’m not sure how I like them. I think it makes it harder for students to focus while working at home. This is definitely something to consider in the college choice as many universities are putting core first-year classes online.
“At this point, I think many seniors, including myself, realize there will probably be no in-person graduation. We’ve made jokes when COVID-19 first entered the US that we would graduate online via a webcam, but it almost seems true now.
“Again, the most gut-wrenching thing about all this is not being able to do the senior traditions. Not being able to jump off the dock on the senior walk is the unfortunate icing on the cake, as it is something I’ve looked forward to since I first witnessed it freshman year.”
Carnell was a defensive role player in the short rotation used by varsity basketball head coach Greg Zugrave. (Incidentally, the Pirates were defeated for the district title). Last fall Carnell established the second-best 5K time for his team in his one and only cross country season. This spring lacrosse ended without formal notice.
Knee problems (tendonitis) slowed Carnell for a while midway through high school, but working with a trainer/licensed physical therapist helped tremendously. He was feeling fine this year and raring to go. The rehab results became inspiration for what to study in college – and ultimately where.
“I was accepted into UF (University of Florida) as well, but through their summer admission. Initially, I was against going to UF. However, after doing some research I really like their program for my major, applied physiology and kinesiology.
“Additionally, I have like a second cousin who went through the program 3 or 4 years ago and she really spoke highly of it, and is now a licensed PT. Everyone I know who has gone, or is, at UF seems to really like it there, so I figured it wouldn’t be a bad choice. Also, going in the summer before all the fall students get there might be kind of nice. You get to know everything and get used to living away from home before the large crowds come.
“However, I’m pretty sure summer classes will be moved online due to Covid-19, so that’s unfortunate.”