Ever since they became students at Summit High School, four talented sisters -- two sets of twins -- have been demonstrating their skills on the athletic fields as well as in the classroom.
Now they are just hoping to get their chance to return to their favorite sports.
The Diamond girls -- seniors Jennifer and Jasmine, and juniors Bianca and Mia -- are looking forward to the start of prep competition, which is scheduled to take place in the early months of 2021.
But they, like everyone else, are concerned about the coronavirus pandemic and how much it will create havoc with the eventual reopening of schools.
"The impact COVID-19 has had on the world is tremendous," said Jasmine Diamond, who said she couldn't have imagined being in a situation of having to constantly wear face masks and "think twice about touching anything or anyone.
"These seven months of quarantine have been difficult for everyone in their own way. For me, taking 3 AP classes online at home was a huge challenge, and the exams were even more stressful. However, Distance Learning is a challenge for everyone: the students can’t socialize at school, the teachers are struggling with technology, and everyone hates being stuck at home looking at a screen all day. Not to mention the athletes, who’ve been on edge waiting for the district to finalize a ready-to-play plan that allows us to get together again and play the sports we love."
Jasmine, 17, is in her third year of playing soccer at Summit.
"As a soccer player, it's hard to social distance -- it’s a very physical sport," she said.
Jennifer Diamond, 17, and Bianca Diamond, 16, both compete in softball, and their spring 2020 season was abruptly cut short when in-person instruction was halted last March.
"Our daily routine came to a halt; there would be no more waking up at 6 a.m., driving through morning traffic, being in class until 2:30, or having softball practice till 5," Jennifer said. "Not only did school stop, everything did. A part of me was shocked that everything happened the way it did; however, a part of me was relieved to get a break and focus on myself, my family, and my other priorities."
Suddenly, softball wasn't the most important consideration in Jennifer's life -- her health and safety was.
"Over time, we were gradually allowed to practice but had strict rules. We had to wear masks, stay six feet apart, and sanitize everything we touched. It was difficult because we’re teammates, but softball is one of the easiest sports to social distance with -- especially for an outfielder like me," she said.
Not being allowed to compete was a particularly unfortunate situation for Bianca Diamond, who is regarded as one of the top 11th-grade softball players in the area. She batted .440 in her freshman season, smashing 33 hits, scoring 24 runs, and driving in 24 runs while helping the SkyHawks take second place in the league standings.
Then as a sophomore, she was hitting .429 before the coronavirus disrupted everything.
"Not being able to attend school is something I dislike, especially because one of my favorite parts of school is socializing with my friends and getting to meet new people," Bianca said. "COVID-19 has put many restrictions on my sports life and has slowed it down dramatically. Before, I would be going to softball every day of the week while being in school, and also having travel softball practice on weekends and occasionally on school days too."
Bianca, an all-league first team outfielder, is one of the leaders on the Summit squad, while Mia, 16, is a leader on the varsity soccer team.
Mia Diamond was all-league second team defensively last season, and in her freshman year she received the MVP award for the soccer program. Mia and Bianca have also both played volleyball at Summit.
Parents Scott and Lupe Diamond are proud of the accomplishments of all of the young ladies.
"All I can really say is we were blessed with four intelligent athletic girls," Scott Diamond said. "We knew at an early age they all would be good athletes, and being 14 months apart they all were able to play on the same soccer team until at age 11 Bianca decided softball was going to be her sport."
The Diamonds will continue to shine in the years ahead -- if the coronavirus gets out of the way.