IHSA approved to move on with winter sports on October 28, despite Governor J.B. Pritzker and IDPH recommendations to put basketball on hold for the upcoming season.
The high school was in question on Oct. 27 after Pritzker and IDPH announced that a change was being made to put boys and girls basketball from medium risk to high risk.
The IHSA’s Board approved the winter sport guidance for all low risk sports, which includes Boys Swimming & Diving, Cheerleading, Dance, Boys & Girls Bowling, and Girls Gymnastics. All of these sports will be conducted from Nov. 16, 2020, to Feb. 13, 2021. The mitigating guidance for each sport will be posted on the IHSA’s COVID-19 Resource Page on October 19. This can be found on www.ihsa.org/Resources/COVID-19. In a future meeting in November, the IHSA Board will review spectator and group gatherings for all winter sports.
Also during their meeting, the Board took action to follow the guidance of the IHSA Sport Medicine Advisory Committee(SMAC) and they will allow Boys and Girls Basketball to begin practices on Nov. 16. Contests will begin Nov. 30 within Illinois COVID Region or winin a conference. Along with the mitigation plan, masks will be worn by all players, coaches, and officials during play. Teams must follow limitations and only allow a maximum of 31 games. It will be a local school decision to determine if a school will allow their basketball teams to participate following the guidelines made by the SMAC.
Varsity Boys’ Basketball Coach Brian Koehne said, “I am very excited that the IHSA said that they are going to allow basketball to play, however we do need to understand that it could be a very fluid situation. We just have to continue to remind ourselves that things can change at any point and that no matter what happens, we need to keep the safety of the athletes first.”
Koehne continued, “everyone wants to play because we love the game of basketball so hopefully we can do that safely and have a season. We have a great group of guys that have been working hard and are fun to be around. We will just keep moving forward, but will be prepared to make adjustments if it is necessary for the good of the school, athletic department, team and individual players. Go Bucs!”
Senior Dylan Schohn said, “I’m thankful that we still get to move forward with this basketball season. Seeing other states playing sports like football was really hard on me because I was really looking forward to my senior year. So it’s nice to see I’ll still get to play basketball at the same time as everyone else.”
BHS Athletic Director Josh Sternquist said that the original sports specific meetings set for Nov. 4 will continue for boys’ and girls’ basketball, boys’ and girls’ bowling, cheer, dance, and boys’ swimming.
“We were very excited because we feel that athletics and activities at BHS have been a positive experience for our students. We have maintained a safe and healthy environment and the announcement yesterday (Wednesday, Oct. 28) gave us hope that we can continue to provide that opportunity to our students. We have some work ahead of us to ensure that safety and opportunity, but we know the students, coaches, staff, and athletic department are up to the challenge,” Sternquist said.
The IHSA determined that wrestling will be moved to the summer, beginning April 19 to June 26.
Assistant coach Daniel McNames said, “It’s not the ideal situation, but the better one. The upside about it is a better chance of having a season, downside is there are going to be three sports going on at once, track, baseball, and wrestling.”
Bowling Girls’ Varsity Coach Blaise Humphry and Girls Varsity Basketball Coach Mike Bradford both weighed in on the decision.
“I thought that IHSA’s decision to move forward with a bowling season is fantastic. I am happy that my senior group is going to have some sort of senior season for bowling this year like they deserve. This season will be different than any other season. We are having to bowl teams that are in our region that the Governor has created, because of that we had to drop some teams like Marengo, Woodstock, and Huntley from our schedule,” he said.
“Also, we are not going to have any tournaments at this point due to the restrictions so that is a downfall to the season because I know my senior group was looking forward to being able to participate in front of some big crowds and college coaches at these tournaments. We will adjust to the season though and get the senior athletes the exposure they deserve to move onto the next level of bowling.” Humphry said.
Bradford said, “ Two words: IT’S AWESOME. COVID has taken away so much already from everyone and it is great to see a little normalcy return. These athletes have worked hard at improving themselves and I am glad they have the opportunity to demonstrate the progress they have made. Athletics is so much more than just the sport itself. The lessons learned from athletics truly help to become successful in life.
With that being said, we do understand that we have to take precautions to keep everyone healthy and that our practices and games will look different, but we are just excited to have this opportunity. Go Bucs!”
Practices for all sports that have been approved are scheduled to begin on Nov. 16 with contests scheduled to start Nov. 30. For all sports that need tryouts, they will begin Nov. 16.