For 20 minutes Friday night, Olympic Peninsula prep athletes got their due.
Athletes who had their spring seasons eliminated, some of whom on the peninsula had serious aspirations for state titles, were honored on April 17 when schools around the state turned on their lights for 20 minutes with the lights being turning off at exactly 8:20 p.m. — 20:20 in military time.
The event featured a blazing sunset and rainbows caused by a low cloud cover.
Port Angeles Athletic Director Dwayne Johnson said every school on the Olympic Peninsula with lights — Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Chimacum, Forks and Sequim — agreed to turn on their lights. At a tiny school like Clallam Bay, the football field was lit up by car headlights.
“We’re trying to put our feet in the shoes of our student-athletes,” Johnson said.
Some of the Port Angeles coaches gathered for the event, making sure to keep 6 feet apart.
Sequim Athletic Director Dave Ditlefsen said the Wolves’ event “went very well.”
Ditlefsen said some Sequim residents brought out their old classic cars for the drive-by event.
”We had a steady stream of cars doing a loop in the parking lot honking their horns for a good 13 minutes. I didn’t know what to expect,” Ditlefsen said. “I was glad to see a lot of faces I haven’t seen in a while.”
Ditlefsen is not only the Sequim AD, but the baseball coach, too.
“I miss the guys, I think they were jelling really well. It’s very disappointing. We had good camaraderie,” he said. He said most of the kids will be back in 2021, but senior and starter Silas Thomas will miss out his senior season.
Ditlefsen said he really felt bad for the Port Angeles prep baseball team, which was bringing a bunch of seniors back to defend its league title.
“They were loaded and ready to go,” Ditlefsen said.
Port Angeles baseball coach Casey Dietz said he had seven experienced seniors on the team looking to add a third straight league title and a chance to make noise at the state 2A tournament.
“It was definitely disappointing. It was quite a group of guys coming in this year with a lot of talent and a lot of skill. It’s a tough pill to swallow,” Dietz said.