COVID Cancels Quick Competitions


David Zeller, Staff Writer

On Friday, March 13, Community Unit School District 200 followed suit with many other school districts around the country and cancelled school on all levels for two weeks. All classes would be moved online for students.

All extracurricular activities and spring sports were cancelled until further notice.

For many student athletes, their sport is an enormous part of their life. They spend hours every day training with their team to improve even just a little bit at the game that they love.

Track and field is one of the most labor intensive sports out there. Many athletes’ lives are engulfed by the sport as they pay attention to their diet and sleep in addition to training. Committed athletes put in as much effort as they can to set new personal bests and to win their event.

“As much as I hate to admit it, I think the choice to cancel track was the right thing to do,” Wheaton Warrenville South junior and cross country state runner-up Samantha Poglitsch says. “[however] it’s also hard to just sit at home and not race when personally I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in.”

Senior athletes hosted optional and unofficial practices for teammates despite the official cancelation, however new guidelines from the Center of Disease Control advising keeping groups smaller than five people quickly shut down these attempts.

Now, athletes around the state are stuck in a difficult position, especially seniors who were hoping for one more shot at winning a state medal in their event. 

Many runners are forced to work out alone with no idea of when their next race will be. The DuKane Conference meet was scheduled for Saturday, March 21, and was supposed to be the end of indoor season for athletes at Wheaton Warrenville South.

However, not just South athletes have been affected by this cancelation. Athletes all over the state are at risk of not being able to hit their goals for the season, and seniors may not be able to race again.

The IHSA has suggested moving the state series towards the middle of the summer in the hope of keeping the season alive for athletes, however there are downsides to this, especially for college-bound seniors.

“If the season gets canceled my goal will switch to just being in the best shape possible going into my college cross country season,” says Ryan Harvey, an 800m runner from South Elgin High School who will be running for Loras College later this year. Harvey said it is unlikely that he would choose to participate in a state meet that happened late into the summer as the different style of training would interfere with his base training for cross country.

Many seniors across the country are in the same situation. Choosing to not race in a later state meet will be choosing to avoid one of the best athletic experiences and opportunities for new bests.

COVID-19 has taken opportunity after opportunity from these devoted athletes, but even when the future looks grim, they will keep going and look forward to the next big race.