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BLOOMINGTON — There might still be hope for the spring sports season.
The Illinois High School Association is taking a wait-and-see approach as it handles the ongoing suspension of its spring season in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic of 2020.
Executive Director Craig Anderson announced on Twitter Wednesday afternoon that the IHSA is considering an extension of the spring sports season limitation “to provide more participation opportunities for students.”
“This may include movement of the postseason timelines and State Series,” Anderson said. “We continue to support the possibility of our member schools completing both regular and postseason spring sport seasons. The date schools are allowed to return to session will determine the length of the spring sports season and the potential of an IHSA State Series.”
That was good news for area coaches and athletes.
After receiving that notification from the IHSA, first-year Hall head softball coach Mike Filippini and daughter, Maggie, sophomore varsity pitcher for the Lady Devils, went straight to their backyard where she could hit off a tee and pitch.
“I emailed the girls and gave them the little bit of good news to try and lift their spirits,” Filippini said. “I’m happy they are trying to still play. I like the idea of a short regular season and still trying to do the postseason as well.
“I really feel like the IHSA is going out of their way to try and give the kids a season, and I’m encouraged about that. It would be easy to just cancel already, but they are willing to wait and try something, so that a great thing. Hopefully it works out.”
St. Bede coach Bill Booker said he sent Craig Anderson an email thanking him for his efforts.
“I’m all for suspension, wait and see, play into the summer. My thoughts are, it will take some creativity to keep kids out for multiple sports and working with football, basketball, wrestling coaches because of the off-season summer contact days, but I am willing to try anything so we can allow these kids to play high school sports.”
Booker said there’s also AAU basketball or travel leagues kids have committed big dollars to over the summer, to take into consideration, “but maybe athletes should be true to their schools and if their talents are that good, allow their high school coaches to help with the recruiting process.”
At the least, the IHSA’s announcement offers hope.
“I feel like at this point all we can do is hope that all of this gets resolved so we can still have time for spring sports to take place,” Hall senior trackster Marshall Walk said. “I feel terrible for every senior athlete that participates in a spring sport and is missing out on part of their season, but all we can do at this point is roll with the IHSA and also wait and see how it all plays out.”
“It’s great that they are doing what they can to give us a chance! Just hope we have some clarity sooner rather than later. Being in limbo isn’t great for the kids mentally either,” Bureau Valley baseball coach Ryan Schisler said.
PHS junior Grant Foes, who is a thrower for his dad’s Tigers track team, was happy to hear the news. He thought they were all done.
“I was assuming they were just gonna cancel, but I’ve been trying to get some technique work in to stay in the throwing shape along with some workouts in case we do have a season,” Foes said.
PHS baseball coach Wick Warren has remained hopeful from Day 1. He was out dragging Prather Field Wednesday afternoon, as he has most days throughout the mandated suspension of sports, to keep it game ready.
Both Filippini and Booker gave the IHSA a lot of credit for trying to make this happen for the kids.
“The IHSA gets bashed for a lot of things, but they should be commended for this,” Filippini said.