The Illinois High School Association’s proposed Stage 2 guidelines, which could go into effect late this month or early in July, would include a return to more normal practices. But in the meantime, local high school student-athletes have been making the best of Stage 1, which began this week, with strength and fitness workouts limited to nine athletes per session.
“We’ve been working out since Monday,” Routt Athletic Director and football coach Barry Creviston said. “We’ve been following the guidelines given by the IHSA, asking our COVID-19 questions and then doing thermo-temperature checks every workout period.”
Creviston said about 19 student-athletes have been working out at Routt per day. The school has three workout periods, at 7 a.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.
“With kids on vacation and the Lu-High kids, we’re trying to get over there and get a workout started over there,” he said. “A couple days, they’ve come over here. Numbers vary every day, but we’ve got a core group of guys who are working out hard.”
The majority have been football players, but some members of the girls’ swim team have worked out in the 7 a.m. group.
“A lot of kids have been sitting around for the last four months, so it’s kind of an ease-in process,” Creviston said. “We’ve asked them to work out while they were quarantined, so that means a lot of home workouts. If you’ve been out and about throughout town the whole time, people have been walking — and I would assume our guys have been doing that as well, walking and running.”
At Beardstown, Athletic Director and football coach Robbi Howard said this week’s sessions have gone well.
“We’ve had good participation,” Howard said. “We’ve been outside, getting the kids moving. Just seeing all the kids has been awesome. Whatever it’s been — three months — to see how much some of these kids have changed in three months of not seeing them is unbelievable. But it’s been awesome just to get to talk to the kids. We’ve had a good plan. Kids have worked hard. Kids have been excited to get back. And weather-wise, it’s been beautiful. We go in the mornings, so it hasn’t been too hot. It’s been really nice.”
Howard said he was impressed with the way Beardstown’s student-athletes looked when they came back.
“There’s always a fear as a coach — we’ve been putting out workouts, and we’ve been encouraging kids to stay active, so there’s always that worry that they weren’t doing it,” Howard said. “But our kids — all the kids, they handled the workouts just fine. They look like we want them to look. So, yeah, I’ve been impressed with all the kids overall. Our kids have definitely been taking it serious, and definitely proud of them for staying active during this time and having the self-discipline to do it on their own.”
Creviston had a similar reaction at Routt.
“We’ve got a couple of guys who came back and look a lot stronger — just the natural maturation process of a high school kid,” he said. “We’ve got some kids that we’re really pleased how hard they’ve been working.”
Creviston took each athlete’s temperature with a forehead thermometer before an afternoon workout Thursday.
“I went out to Wal-mart and bought two baby electro-thermometers,” he said. “They’re accurate.”
Creviston said working out with teammates is a lot different from working out alone. “Everybody looks around, always, to see who’s doing well, and pushing each other,” he said. “It’s just a natural process — you want to try and be the best you can be, and if somebody next to you is better, you want to work hard to try to get up to that level.”
Creviston has been happy with the results.
“We’ve got good kids,” the coach said. “Some work in the afternoon. Some work in the morning. So I take them when I get them. I’m happy to see them because I haven’t seen them in four months, so it’s been a joy this first week just getting back into the groove of things. Everybody enjoyed their time off, but if we’re going to be better, we’ve got to work hard.”