TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A heartbreaking affect of the coronavirus is that many colleges and universities had to shut down athletic programs. That was Maclay lacrosse stand-out Sam Chase's reality when Furman cut their men's lacrosse program.
For Maclay's Sam Chase, the last few weeks have been anything but ordinary.
"Definitely overwhelming because I was pretty set on Furman," said Chase.
In May, thanks to the financial impact from the coronavirus, Furman announced they were cutting both their baseball and men's lacrosse programs, leaving Chase without a place to continue playing.
"Immediately, as soon as I found out, I got on the phone with every coach I could, called every D1 coach, e-mailed every D1 coach and said, 'Hey what's your situation like?'" said Justin VanTassel, the head boys soccer coach at Maclay.
"Out of nowhere, it was swept away so I was a little nervous about where I was going to go," Chase said. "I definitely didn't think I would have as many options as I did. Honestly from the first day, I'd knew I'd end up somewhere because of all the help I had."
That help led him to Jacksonville University.
"When he reached out to me and told me I could come play for him, it was definitely a dream come true," said Chase. "I could go and play where I grew up watching people play. JU is definitely special for that."
A special place for a special talent. Chase was leading the nationally ranked Marauders, breaking the Maclay record for points. He was ranked fourth all-time in the state of Florida and was just 34 away from being the number one player in state history.
"We all planned on winning a state title," said VanTassel. "We were 100 percent in that mindset. Everyone believed we were going to win and we still had that mentality. Sam was breaking every record in the state. To have all of that kind of cut short, it was a season that stung when we didn't get to finish it."
"The personal records I don't really care as much about because that's a name in a book," Chase said. "To win a state title, that would have been special."
It was a special season that's finished before it could really begin.
"I have a good thing to look forward to at JU, so I'm definitely excited for that," Chase said.
A good thing that came together when others fell apart.
Chase hasn't been to JU's campus or met his teammates yet, but said he's excited to still have the opportunity to compete in college. He said he plans on studying business finance.