Spring sports take a splash into summer vacation

Tara Wirtschoreck, staff writer

After almost two years without a game, spring sports – girls’ soccer, boys’ volleyball, track and field, baseball and softball, are all finally getting the chance to play as summer sports. The fact that they will get a season is exciting for players, said junior Anna Durow, varsity soccer player.

As sighted on the South athletics website, sports that would previously take place during the spring season, which is typically March to May, will now go into June. Each sport will end at a different time depending on their playoffs schedules, which also will mean many seniors are still playing past graduation.

Playing soccer after a long absence is exciting for Durow, who, like most high school athletes in spring sports, lost an entire season to Covid-19.

“I’m excited to get together for the first time in about two years,” Durow said. “To me, it doesn’t really matter if we win or lose, but playing with my teammates and making memories is most important so that’s what I’m really excited for.”

This year, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) decided to move many of the spring sports to the newly established “summer season”, which began April 5 and ends June 19, according to the IHSA website. Dana Boehmer, girls’ softball coach, believes the IHSA made the decision to try to give the sports as much of a season as possible, including a full post-season.

“The IHSA has decided to give us a postseason, which is great,” said Boehmer. “It will run like a normal year where we have regionals, sectionals, super-sectionals and state.”

The season that takes place over summer break could cause scheduling issues with club sports, work or other summer plans, but boys’ volleyball coach Ann Kotsdam is going to try to work around these potential conflicts. Boys’ volleyball will try to practice in the early morning to help accommodate schedules, according to Kotsdam.

“[We will work] together with the team and [figure] out what’s best for them, and be flexible, which is important,” Kotsdam said.

Due to the new schedule, seniors will continue playing their sport even after they graduate. For many seniors, this is a good thing, senior Bella Trapp, a track and field athlete, said.

“[Playing a summer sport] feels really great because I’ll be able to still stay fit and healthy even after the school year ends,” Trapp said.

Additionally, the summer sports season has been condensed, meaning that more games are played in a shorter period of time, said Mark Daniels, girls’ soccer coach. Consequently, players have had less practice time and more game time, requiring coaches and players to work harder to avoid injuries.

“We respect that the girls’ are going to be tired, so we check with the players and they need to put it on themselves to tell us, ‘Hey coach, I have a sprain’ or ‘I’m sore,’” Daniels said.

Similarly, the baseball team has encountered some hiccups as the condensed season has caused South’s baseball team to struggle with pitching numbers. According to the IHSA, a limit has been placed on the number of pitches one pitcher can throw per week, capping off at 110. The team has needed to make sure that they keep the number of pitches under the limit, which has been challenging, given the number of games they have had to play in the condensed season.

Even though there may be challenges, players remain focused on improving their skills. Many of the games that come up at the end of the season, Durow said athletes will stay committed to their sport because they care about their teams and are grateful to be getting a season after all.

“It doesn’t really matter the season that [the sport] is in, [regardless of] if it’s the summer or the spring, it’s just [nice] that we have a season in general,” Durow said.