PAOLA — Paola High School senior McKenzie Gagnebin, like the rest of the class of 2020, lost memories this spring she will never get back.

Gagnebin was a state qualifier and state placer in the discus. Heading into the season, the Lady Panther track and field team was ranked in the top six in Class 4A.

“I will never get to walk up in that podium at state, knowing all of my hard work has paid off,” Gagnebin said. “When I left for spring break I didn’t know I would never again walk the halls of Paola High School as a student.”

When Osawatomie senior Kaitlyn Fanning walked out of school for spring break, she never imagined it would be the last time she would walk through those doors as a high school student.

Fanning, a Tri-County Spotlight and All-Pioneer League softball selection, was ready to have another all-star season with the Lady Trojans.

“Never in a million years would I of thought I would be cut short of everything I have waited 13 years for,” Fanning said.

Louisburg Wildcat senior Calvin Dillon never got the chance to chase down a fourth state medal. He was a three-time Tri-County Spotlight Golfer of the Year.

Wildcat seniors Drake Varns, Garrett Rolofson, Ryan Haight, Colin Cook and Dillon qualified to send the entire team to state last year and were ready to make it two in a row this spring.

Paola senior Brayden Hanf was a returning state qualifier on the Miami County girls swim team. She competed at state in the 200 relay. Hanf placed third in the 50 freestyle, 100 butterfly, 200 relay and 400 relay at the league meet.

Hanf only got to swim for one season. She went out for track as a freshman, and was injured her sophomore year. Hanf went out for the swim team her junior season and qualified for state.

Trinity Moore was one of 12 seniors back for the Louisburg girls soccer team. The Lady Cats advanced to the state tournament final four the last three years and were in the state championship game two years in a row. Louisburg was runner-up in 2018 and runner-up in 2019.

Moore also ran cross county for Louisburg, placing third in the state meet with a school record time. She was the Tri-County Spotlight Girls Runner of the Year.

Fanning had one final practice with the Lady Trojans softball team on Thursday, March 12.

None of them knew it would be their last practice together and their season would be over when they came back from spring break.

School was closed, students and parents transitioned to online school.

The spring softball season was canceled. Prom and graduation ceremonies were in limbo with possible cancellations looming.

“To the class of 2020, don’t take anything for granted,” Fanning said. “Do all you can because it can end unexpectedly at any time.

“We all worked 13 hard years for this. It is time to do the best we can with what we have,” she said.

Sports Editor Gene Morris can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or

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