Winter sports await green light from IHSA


Joselyn Mendez

Members of the dance team prepare for the season after clearance from the athletic department.

The past seven months have been a time of uncertainty, and this uncertainty has had a big impact on high school sports. Going into the fall season of sports, no one knew what would occur. What sports could compete, what sports could practice, what sports would be delayed entirely? In the end, only a select few sports–cross country, girls tennis, swimming, and golf– were able to play, and the remainder of the sports seasons were pushed back until the spring. Now with the winter season of sports approaching it prompts the question: which sports will truly be able to compete?
Many athletes have been anxiously awaiting the IHSA’s decision about winter sports and hoping for the best. Saint Viator has allowed teams to practice for possible upcoming seasons via contact days in the fall, where upcoming or postponed sports were able to practice.
Nate Carlson, a senior on the varsity basketball team, has been attending basketball contact days throughout the fall. A lot of changes have occurred in regards to the basketball program over the past few months, as an entirely new coaching staff has been hired after the departure of Coach Quin Hayes. These changes have made the need for practice even more dire as the possible season approaches.
“Contact days have helped us learn the new system while also increasing our team chemistry,” Carlson said. “Along with contact days I have been lifting and practicing on my own in order to be ready for the season.”
Basketball isn’t the only winter sports team benefiting from these contact days. Competitive dance has also been taking full advantage of this opportunity.
“At contact days we are really focusing on technique and practicing in order to be ready for the season,” said junior Lauren Spedale, a dancer on the competitive dance team.
The IHSA recently met on October 28 where they released an announcement with an overview of the sports that will be able to compete this winter. The IHSA confirmed that all low-risk sports, including swimming, cheerleading, and dance, will be able to compete this winter while following the IHSA’s COVID mitigation guidelines. In regards to basketball, which J.B. Pritzker raised from a medium risk sport to a high- risk sport on October 27, the IHSA has ruled to continue with the season as scheduled due to the fact that the IHSA Sport Medicine Advisory Committee considers it to only be a medium risk sport.
Now what does all of this mean for Viator Athletics?
“At this time, we will be able to compete in cheerleading, competitive dance, boys swimming and boys/girls Bowling,” said Athletic Director Jason Kuffel ‘99. “Currently, there is no response to whether or not we will be able to compete in either boys or girls basketball season in the winter. We are waiting for more information from the IHSA, Governor’s Office and IDPH, along with our Legal Counsel and Insurance Carrier.”
Dancers, cheerleaders, swimmers, and bowlers have to wait no longer and can start preparing for their winter sports seasons. For boys and girls basketball players, however, the suspense continues as their winter seasons are still uncertain, but the community still maintains hope in the possibility of their season.