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Spring sports coaches, players resigned to short season

  • Craig Anderson

    Craig Anderson

By Spyder Dann
updated: 4/2/2020 8:35 PM

Illinois high school athletes took another punch to the gut this week, as Gov. J.B. Pritzker's extension of the stay-at-home order until April 30 means the spring sports season cannot start before May 1.

The IHSA says it is "still optimistic that we will be able to conduct spring sport state tournaments."

Harrisburg Athletic Director Greg Langley wants to be optimistic.

"I just got done sending out an email to all athletes that all games and practices for Harrisburg High School athletics are canceled through April 30th," he said.

"I feel terrible for all the spring sport athletes. I'm hopeful we'll be able to start playing in mid-May, but like probably everyone else, I just don't know right now."

Most regular season schedules would wrap up in May and according to the IHSA schedule, most baseball and softball regionals would start on May 18. The state tournament is scheduled to begin June 5.

Derek Beard, the Du Quoin athletic director and boys track and field coach, said if the schedule is not pushed back his entire track season will consist of one invitational meet, a conference meet and the IHSA State series.

"If they decide to move the state series back a few weeks that would give us the opportunity to have three or four meets before the state series," he said.

Meanwhile, "I pray that we can contain this virus, and our athletes and their families remain safe during this time."

Marion Athletic Director Ryan Godisky believes June is the absolute latest any prep sports can be played. Nothing could be supported in July with everything else that normally happens.

"I think we could practice for a week to 10 days (once school resumes), get in some conference competition only and then the post season," he said

Beard echoes many of Godisky's sentiments and believes the IHSA could move the series back a week or two, but then summer contact days are going to be affected.

"I really hope our kids get the chance to compete this spring in track & field and baseball and softball. These athletes have worked very hard and I just hope they get the chance to compete."

The IHSA also delayed its vote on the boys and girls basketball state finals hosting bid.

Originally the IHSA Board was to vote April 21 on the IHSA finals bid, but because of the continued stay-at-home order, the board has elected to wait until June 15, its next scheduled meeting.

In a release sent out Tuesday night, IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said, "Because of the time, effort and resources that each community and venue has invested into their respective hosting bids, I believe it is vital that the IHSA Board be able to meet in-person to vote on the state basketball bids.

"I want them to be unencumbered in their discussion, as well as able to get clarity on any questions they may have on the bids. As convenient as online meeting resources are, I do sometimes have concerns that they can stifle conversation, especially with a group as large as ours."

• Spyder Dann covers prep and college sports for the Southern Illinois LOCAL Media Group. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.

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