The NCAA made it official on Monday. Brock Zacherl’s wrestling days at Clarion University are over.

While extending eligibility to all of its spring athletes, the NCAA did not do so for athletes in winter sports, thus Zacherl won’t be making a fourth appearance at the NCAA Championships, which were supposed to happen after his runner-up finish at the Mid-American Conference tournament.

Ever the optimist, Zacherl did use the word “suck” when reacting to the news. But, it was time to focus forward and his goal of being an Olympian was kept alive with this year’s Olympic Games in Japan being postponed.

That means he’ll get a chance to qualify for the Olympic trials, which were supposed to be this weekend actually at Penn State University’s Bryce Jordan Center.

How things play out exactly on how the path will go for Zacherl’s dream is yet to be determined, but it was enough for the former Brookville state champion to say, “I’m not done yet.”

His career at Clarion University, as tweeted by the @WrestlingCUP:

— Career record 115-17, his wins ranking 14th all-time on the team’s win list.

— 4-time NCAA qualifier.

— 5-year team captain.

— Never lost a match at Clarion.

Tweeted his CUP and Raiders teammate Tate Ortz (@OrtzTaylor):

“Best dude I’ve ever wrestled. So thankful I had a teacher like @BrockZacherl.”

To talk a little with Zacherl can only impress you on how positive his outlook is regarding goals, achievements and challenges you face in life. Well then, what a suitable time to have that outlook.

Sitting in my man cave or office contemplating what in the world we are going through right now as we see the coronavirus virus numbers increase and sadly the death toll as well, I look ahead, hopefully not far ahead, and can only think how things will be when we have things much more under control.

It. Will. Be. Glorious.

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Live sports, the celebration of events that many take for granted — and I swear to you I’ve never taken any of this for granted — will bring out such an emotional and enthusiastic response that … well, I’m not sure if we’ll ever take anything that we’ve digested on a daily basis in the past for granted in the future.

This is a pause button, hopefully, where I pray we all come out of this as safely as possible with as few casualties as possible. It may not feel all that crazy in our area, but reading the story about Bill Slater is so terribly sad.

Slater was the father of Moniteau girls’ basketball coach Dee Arblaster. He was big supporter of Moniteau athletics and an expert at steer hazing and judged rodeos for 50 years. Last week, he died at age 81, Butler County’s first coronavirus casualty.

That’s real and let’s pray this ends as soon as possible.

In the meantime, get ready. If you’re an athlete, do what you can to train for whatever future you have in whatever sport you’re playing. My fears are that the spring season will not happen, even though I feel it’s more than fitting to present to you in these pages previews of our area teams — first, to produce “for the record” material and second to highlight the athletes who have sacrificed and worked so hard to perhaps find themselves in a newspaper headline.

This pause button is saving lives and it’s also setting up one heckuva return to sports normalcy, starting with the Star Spangled Banner before a pitch or football or basketball is tossed.

I cannot wait.

BASEBALL IN COLOR — What an entertaining trip into the past. It’s a twitter handle called @Baseballincolor which colorizes black and white baseball pictures from yesteryear.

For guys I’ve written about, seeing them colorized is absolutely fantastic.

Make sure you visit this site or check my retweets that has one picture of the 1901 Boston Americans. Starting catcher: New Bethlehem native Ossee Shrecongost.

Indeed, Shreck, as they called him, caught at least four Hall of Fame pitchers and on that team it was Cy Young.

We’ll be re-running at least some of a story written awhile ago by editor Josh Walzak on Shrecongost, quite an interesting backstop in ancient baseball days.

It’s great stuff about a forgotten star.

Rich Rhoades is the sports editor of the Leader-Vindicator and the Jeffersonian Democrat in Brookville. E-mail: Follow me on twitter @TheSkinny1969.

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