MT. CARMEL, IL. (WFIE) - High school athletes in Illinois are rejoicing, as many, will again, be able to play the sports they love, for the first time, since last school year.
The town of Mount Carmel revolves around Golden Aces athletics, so the last year was a tough one for everyone. But last week, the Illinois High School Association ruled that games can resume, and last night, sports seasons were set.
“To be able to finally text them all, ‘Hey we’re having practice tomorrow’, it was like Christmas morning all over again, and it seems like it’s been like that every day since,” said Mt. Carmel basketball head coach Tyler Buss.
“It was pretty exciting once we actually found out we were gonna have a season in both football and basketball. It’s been like 400-something days since the last time we practiced,” said Zach Allen, a junior at Mt. Carmel.
Now, to be clear, not all of Illinois, has resumed play. However, several areas, including Region 5 have. Region 5 includes Wayne, White, Wabash, and Edwards counties, and they are in Tier 1, of Phase 4, of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, enabling the winter sports, to begin practices immediately.
“It was like caged animals getting out of the cage. It’s been a lot of fun to just roll up our sleeves and get after it this week,” said Coach Buss.
All winter sports will play until March 13. Fall sports like football, begin practice in March, and play until late April. Then, the spring sports will begin. There is one catch, though: as of now, IHSA guidelines require all student-athletes to participate in masks, except for swimmers and outdoor sports with social distancing.
“We’ve been using it; it’s just been getting them to keep them up here. We’ll kind of see how that first game goes,” said Coach Buss.
“Whatever we have to do, whether it’s a mask or anything, as long as we’re out here playing and being out here with my brothers on the court and coaches and everything, I’ll do anything,” said Mt. Carmel senior Kaleb Applebey.
The IHSA doing what it can, to bring back a well-rounded experience for these student-athletes.