It was a normal Wednesday afternoon for Rebecca Mehra.

She had ventured into the local Safeway supermarket in Bend, Oregon, when a couple sitting in their car called out to her.

"As I was walking into the store, I heard a woman yelling to me from her car. 'Hey, hey! You!," Mehra said. "I approached and noticed it was an elderly woman and man sitting in the car."

The couple told Mehra, a 2012 Palos Verdes High graduate, they'd been sitting in their car for a while, with intentions of going inside.

"But they were afraid that in a crowded public space such as the grocery store they could expose themselves to the novel coronavirus, which is disproportionately affecting older folks like them," Mehra said.

What Mehra did next was something she feels many others she knows would do—she went into the market and did their grocery shopping for them.

"In the moment, buying groceries for this couple seemed like no big deal," Mehra said. "I think as we all have been seeing such bad news about the virus constantly, this story stuck because it was a small light of good news in a dark time."

Mehra ran both cross country and track at PV High before competing at Stanford. She graduated from Stanford with a Master's degree in communication while an undergraduate degree in internal relations.

When she heard of the news that the NCAA was canceling its spring season, she knew how catastrophic that would be for the student-athletes.

The CIF Southern Section has left the continuance of athletic contests and practices up to each of the member schools to determine. Most local schools have suspended both practices and play through the first week of April.  

"I am gutted for both the high school and NCAA athletes who are missing out on seasons," Mehra said. "They have worked all year in order to finally get the chance to compete, and to have that suddenly taken away is incredibly difficult."

One local college athlete left to wonder what will happen next is 2017 Peninsula High alum and current LMU student Nick Frasso.

Frasso, a baseball player, had his  season came to an abrupt end when the West Coast Conference canceled all spring competitions, including WCC championship events, and formal and organized practices.

Frasso entered his junior season on the Golden Spikes Award player of the year watch list. Current major leaguers Kris Bryant (Chicago Cubs), Stephen Strasburg (Washington Nationals) and Trevor Bauer (Cincinnati Reds) were named the Golden Spikes award winners in their collegiate days.

"I'm still trying to figure it all out," Frasso said. "Hopefully we'll get more answers as time goes on. It's all so crazy"

Intent on continuing some form of workout, Frasso doesn't want the downtime to impact him.

"I'm working out and throwing on my own right now," he said.

Another pitcher, a member of the Atlanta Braves organization, and 2006 PV graduate Ben Rowen was a non-roster invitee to big league camp with the Braves. Rowen spent the 2019 season with the Braves AAA affiliate, the Gwinnett Stripers.

"Teams haven't had many answers, and I'm watching the media share info like everyone else," said Rowen, who is currently back home in San Diego.

Rowen, who holds the position of marketing director for Aztec Fire & Safety in San Diego during the baseball offseason, is unsure if he'll receive a paycheck from the Braves organization.

"I'll see if I can work my offseason job and get some sort of income," Rowen said. "But I'll keep working out and throwing in case they want to start up quickly."

In the case of 2015 PV graduate and current Gonzaga student-athlete Bennett Gagnon, he personally wrote to Mark Emmert, the NCAA President, regarding his situation, concerns and questions during what he called an uncertain time. Gagnon ran cross country and both indoor and outdoor track at Gonzaga. 

Gagnon has already earned a bachelor of science degree in economics, and is currently working on an MBA.

"For many of us, returning for one more year is not financially feasible," Gagnon wrote. "For others, jobs have been accepted for when spring sports were planned to end. As a group, we have hundreds, if not thousands, of unique needs that must be met, and met quickly."

The NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships were canceled the day of the championship races, and the Outdoor Track and Field season was called off before it began. 

Gagnon has started a petition to gather signatures imploring the NCAA to consider the needs of students athletes amid the COVID-19 outbreak.


You can view Gagnon's petition here.

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