Fargo Post 2's Hage expects start to his Ivy League baseball career to look different due to COVID-19
FARGO — Cole Hage has yet to start his college career, but it’s already looking different than what he envisioned.
The Fargo Davies graduate, who also plays for Fargo Post 2, is signed to play baseball at Columbia, which is located in New York City.
Columbia is also a member of The Ivy League, which recently announced it is canceling fall sports due to the coronavirus pandemic. While baseball is a spring sport, the decision also changes fall baseball.
“We still get to go out there, but we don’t really get to train or anything,” Hage said. “We get to do conditioning and then if it gets better we do small group stuff. It’s a weird process because New York has been pretty shut down. … It’s definitely going to be a big change.”
Hage will be able to live in a dorm room in the fall with Columbia currently planning to allow for 60% capacity for its on-campus housing. First- and second-year students, along with transfers, will make up that group that is allowed to return to campus, according to the university’s website.
Hage said it’s going to be different not having the chance to be around the baseball upperclassmen during the fall.
“Not being able to see the juniors and seniors, and that senior leadership and meet all the guys is going to be tough,” Hage said. “We’re not going to be able to play fall ball games and get exposure that way either. It’s a tough scenario, but I will make it through.”
Classes at Columbia are scheduled to start Sept. 8 and Hage said he plans to head to New York City soon before. Columbia will start the semester with a hybrid learning model with most classes being taught remotely or in hybrid form.
Any in-person classes will be limited in size and follow social distancing guidelines.
“It’s a big toss-up right now. We don’t know if it is going to get better or worse or how that is going to affect the fall,” Hage said. “No one really knows for sure what is going to happen.
“We have to roll with it and see what happens, but it is tough because this is my freshman year. I’m really excited to go to New York City and get a great education. ... I just wish that the whole student body was there. It takes away from the experience. Part of college is meeting new people and going out and doing things around the area. Part of that is being taken away for a while.”
Hage and Fargo Post 2 have a 28-2 record this summer, playing Senior Babe Ruth baseball since the American Legion season was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Hage said he’s enjoying his final summer of baseball before he heads to college, especially after losing his senior high school baseball season at Davies.
“It’s meant a lot and it’s awesome because we didn’t get that spring season and this is the last time I will be able to play with my friends and stuff,” Hage said.
He said it won’t be the college experience he anticipated next fall due to health guidelines for the coronavirus.
“We don’t really get to be free on campus as much,” Hage said. “It’s another set of guidelines that makes fitting in to going to college and just fitting in and getting used to everything that much harder. It’s tough because you’re thinking ‘Why my freshman year?’”
Hage is hopeful Columbia will have a baseball season next spring.
“I think a spring season will happen, but I don’t want to get my hopes too high because anything is possible,” he said. “I don’t think anyone has experienced this. I will just figure it out on my own. I will get through it.”