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FHS seniors have each other’s backs

Freedom senior softball teammates and best friends, Juliana Presto and Makenzie Smith, have been a significant support to each other throughout the high school softball season that fell victim to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I remember sitting in class and didn’t think this would be a big deal,” Presto recalled. “I was shocked when we had two weeks off, and then it was extended. It didn’t seem real. Then the season was canceled, and it hit hard. It was hard to comprehend.”

Smith had more of a delayed reaction to the cancellation.

“At first it didn’t hit me, and a week later, I started crying,” Smith said.

The Patriot pitcher, Presto, and the Patriot center fielder, Smith, have been Facetiming pretty much every night since.

“Obviously, it affects us really, really badly, but she makes it better for me,” said Smith. “She makes me laugh. She’s such a cool person.”

Smith makes it better for Presto too.

“She makes me look on the bright side,” Presto said. “If I get down on something, she says, ‘You can do this.’ We both make each other realize we still have a lot coming.”

For one, Presto and Smith began to plan their own senior night while, unbeknown to them, their coach, Michele Laubach, had already been planning a senior night for them.

For another, both girls play for tournament teams in the summer. After that, Smith will attend Quinnipiac University where she plans to major in occupational therapy.

“It’s five-and-a-half years, the master’s program for occupational therapy,” said Smith. “I love the area, the program, and the people are so nice and so helpful.”

Presto will continue her softball career at Arcadia University where she plans to major in elementary education.

“I went to camp there and fell in love with the campus,” Presto said. “Then I did an overnight and loved the dynamic.

“We have college ahead. We have to look forward to that to get past what happened.”