Editor’s Note: For 20 days in April, the Deseret News will profile 20 elite high school athletes from the 2020 graduating class and how they’re coping with the premature end of senior life on and off the field.
HEBER CITY — Wasatch High’s Greyson Mercer is restless.
Like most of the world, the high school athlete longs for the structure his life used to follow. Wake up, go to school, see friends, go to soccer practice, do homework — repeat.
Sure the routine could feel repetitive at times, but as Mercer said, “being out of the schedule just feels weird. I like a set schedule, it keeps stability in our lives.”
Life is anything but normal because of COVID-19, and Mercer is trying to adjust the best he can.
At times he can’t help but think about what might’ve been.
“The seniors are definitely sad we didn’t get to finish our last year and win a state championship cause I felt like we were on a path to do that. For the most part, I think we’re keeping our heads up,” said Mercer, who has signed to play soccer at Michigan State this fall.
Wasatch won all three of its games before the UHSAA suspended the season because of COVID-19, which included a 2-0 shutout win at Park City on the day the suspension was announced.
The players were on the bus ride to Park City when Wasatch coach Jared Hendry informed the team about the two-week suspension from March 16-28.
With all the players aware that it would be their last in a while, Mercer said there was an extra level of intensity from Park City and Wasatch in the match.
The high school sports suspension has since been extended until May 1, and potentially longer.
Anything beyond May 1 and it will likely wipe out the entire season.
“I feel bad for the seniors that aren’t going to college for soccer. This year was their last year to bond with all the boys, they’ve been waiting for this most their life to be a senior and to play their last year and fight for a state championship,” said Mercer.
Wasatch reached the 5A semifinals last year, where it narrowly lost to Olympus 3-2. Mercer was named a first-team all-state midfielder last year, and he was a big reason expectations were so high in Heber City.
Amid the shutdown, Mercer and two of his best friends have still found a way to stay sharp on the soccer field.
Most nights during the week, Mercer joins Wasatch juniors Edgar Garcia and Elder Gutierrez at a park for a nightly workout. They practice social distancing and never high five, but they get in a solid two-hour workout that Mercer says will keep him ready for the Michigan State soccer season this fall — assuming the high school season doesn’t resume.
Mercer said the trio start the session with a three-to-four mile jog, followed by a lot of footwork drills around cones. Then Mercer and Garcia finish things up with shooting drills against Gutierrez, who is a keeper.
It’s not how he envisioned the final couple months of high school life to unfold, but having some normalcy in his schedule has helped his restlessness.
“It really hurts that I can’t play with all those boys for the last season of high school,” said Mercer.