LINCOLN — Given the way Lincoln High’s boys’ volleyball campaign closed last June 9, there was little wonder why Chris Lezon had been so energized by the prospect of beginning a new season in mid-March.
For him, deep down, it was “The Revenge Tour.”
Lezon and his Lions had completed a stellar regular-season slate with a 14-2 mark, then cruised to two playoff victories prior to the Ocean State’s first-ever Division III Tournament matchup opposite second-ranked St. Raphael Academy at Johnson & Wales University.
In that, however, Lincoln fell behind early due to too many unforced errors and ultimately dropped an emotional 3-1 decision (25-15, 25-15, 18-25, 25-16).
“I couldn’t wait for this season,” Lezon stated, “but then the coronavirus thing hit, and I could kind of see (the campaign’s cancellation) coming. When it did, it hurt; it cut so deep. I was so bummed because of the way we lost last year, plus we had just about everybody coming back this time around.
“It was going to be a really good season, I felt,” he added. “But now it’s gone, and I’m just trying to look ahead. It hurts too much to look back … I’ve talked with one of my best friends, Nick (Gaitanis, who like Lezon is also a cross-country and indoor track star), and he agrees. It really is a ripoff. It’s not so much about the athletics as it is about all the things you work for over the four years.
“I mean, all the activities you look forward to being a part of – like the prom, the awards banquets, Senior Night, graduation. We’re not going to have any of those. The spring season is all about celebrating and working to go out on a high note. That’s over and done with. It’s so frustrating.”
If the tall, slender, thoughtful Lezon is looking back at anything, it’s been a sparkling career on cross-country paths, indoor tracks and gymnasium floors over the past four years.
He ran cross-country each and every fall and earned All-Division status as a junior and senior. In indoor, he claimed All-Division his final three campaigns, including first-team as a member of the 4 x 400-meter relay and second-team as anchor of the 4 x 800 relay.
As a middle blocker for head coach Kyle Medeiros’ varsity volleyball squad, he landed first-team All-Division and third-team All-State laurels, and that came after being selected to the Division III All-Tournament team and the state D-III Player of the Year.
He stated he was extremely proud after he and his 4 x 800 relay mates finished fourth at the state meet and qualified for the New England Championships at Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury. And, at that season-ending evnt, the Lions didn’t muster a top-six finish but did break the nine-year-old school record with a clocking of 8:25.3.
“That was never really in our scope at the beginning of the season,” Lezon admitted. “We were up in the high 8:50s early on, so we were just focused on doing well and improving during the course of the season. We started to lower our times, and things just eventually clicked.
“After indoor ended, I was still playing club for Blast Volleyball; we practiced out of Bay View (Academy in East Providence) and played at a USAVB tournament in Boston the week after New Englands, but then that season ended,” he continued. “I was kind of burned out after New Englands, so I took some time off and then began running a couple of times a week for (high school) volleyball.
“I honestly think that me just trying to turn the page is helping; now I’m focused on bettering my weaknesses, turn them into strengths. First, my upper body. Obviously, years of running long distances isn’t conducive to looking like … Kyle (Moison, his massive-chested buddy and one of the best shot putters and weight and hammer throwers in the country).
“I’ve got to concentrate on getting stronger, and I’m also really trying to stay as positive as I can. This situation has left me hungry because I want to become the best possible volleyball player I can become. That’s really important right now.”
Call that an understatement. In December, Lezon issued a verbal commitment to attend Rivier University in Nashua, N.H. come August; there he will play volleyball on a partial scholarship.
“I decided early because I wanted to get it out of the way so I could concentrate on my classes ad my athletics,” he noted. “It’s good I did; it was one less thing I had to worry about this winter. I’ve talked to the head coach, Craig Kolek, several times, and I’m anxious to be a part of that program.”
Lezon also knows what field he would like to study, and that’s cyber-security management.
“Simply put, companies out there need someone to set up firewalls to secure their and their customers’ data on-line, and I like the idea of doing that,” he said. “I’ve always been fascinated by (the subject).
“Right now, all I’m thinking about is the future, both near and far. I want to finish up high school, then I;m going to start looking ahead to college.
“This summer, I’d also like to hook on with a beach or indoor league, just to help me remain sharp and focused on the sport,” he added. “It’s still hard to remain positive, especially when you think about what might have been this volleyball season. Maybe we’d attain that long-time goal of a state championship, maybe we wouldn’t, but we all wanted the opportunity to try.
“You just take it day by day. The teachers are giving us a lot of work, so that keeps us busy. It helps you take your mind off it, so that’s not a bad thing.”