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Pitcher Drew Coursey and Adam Frerichs discuss SJO game strategy on the mound.
Drew Coursey (right) discusses game strategy during a break in the action with catcher Adam Frerichs, a senior, during the Spartans' home baseball game against Westville on March 28, 2019. Coursey, now a senior, and the St. Joseph-Ogden baseball team had their season called to a halt on Tuesday after IHSA announced the spring tournament series was canceled due to healthy and safety concerns while the state continues to suffers from the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)


In an unprecedented move on Tuesday, the Illinois High School Association officially canceled the spring 2020 sports season.

After Governor J.B. Pritzker's announced during last Friday's to close Illinois schools for the remaining part of the current school year, the IHSA Board of Directors released a statement cancelling all state final competition.

"We support the decision by Governor Pritzker and the Illinois State Board of Education, and given the logistics, we simply felt we could not conduct state tournaments that meet the expectations of our member schools this spring," said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson in the media release. "As disappointing as it may be for students, it is the right decision for their health and safety, as well as for the health and safety of the general public, as we cope with this unprecedented pandemic."

While there have been sporadic cancellations in the past by the IHSA, it is the first time in Illinois history that every high school sport in a single season has been suspended.

"Wrestling was canceled due to war, but boys basketball was held that year," said Matt Troha, Assistant Executive Director referring to a brief suspension of several events due to the United State's participation in World War II. The state wrestling meet in 1944 was was one such casualty, but the basketball tournament was held. "So it was hit or miss based on participation."

With prom already out of the equation and the possibly of not sharing the excitement of graduation together, it was yet another bitter pill for seniors at SJO. The Sentinel caught up with five of them from three different sports to get their reactions to yesterday's news. Like many of their teammates, these Spartans saw the writing on the wall and were mentally prepared for the inevitable, unavoidable decision.


When I heard the news officially, I didn’t have much of a reaction. I feel like I’ve just been waiting for the IHSA to officially announce the cancellation for weeks. When I heard Governor Pritzker cancelled school, in my mind that was the final cancellation so today’s news didn’t make much of an impact for me. Yeah, I’m disappointed. I wanted to go out of sports on my own terms and ending my career this spring after baseball was my own terms. Sometimes plans change and life gets in the way, so I’ll come to terms with it and move on.

Drew Coursey
Baseball

After I heard about the cancellation, I was just devastated for my friends and all the seniors who never got to have a senior night. Some of my classmates have been training for this season all year, and for them to never get that experience, my heart just aches.

For me, I’ve been coming to terms with it a little as this situation has transpired. It seemed inevitable to me that this would happen as I looked at the changes happening in our country. For me, it’s more just feeling for my friends and teammates. I was blessed to have an amazing fall sports season, and I’m so upset that my fellow spring sport athletes won’t get that opportunity in their particular sports. Our spring sports teams would’ve been pretty unstoppable as a whole, and it’s terribly unfortunate that we now won’t even get a chance to compete.

Lindsey Aden
Softball


When they cancelled school I had a pretty strong idea that that meant the end of my career. Still, when the season was called it was a feeling I couldn’t describe, like something was ripped out of my life prematurely. It’s important to stay positive, now I’m ready to start the college sports and school experience!

Brayden Weaver
Baseball


I’m sad that the season is over but knew it would be over. It was a hard decision for IHSA to do but we all knew it was going to happen. Having time to prepare ourselves did help. I surely don’t think all of our training is a waste. It’s hard not being able to show what we have on the track but it’s not a disappointment either. I’m glad I’m still training like I am even if the season would’ve been going on. One way or another, I’ll show my training off and my capability in college since I’ll continue doing athletics.

Jillian Plotner
Girls Track


- I feel like the news was inevitable. I know the health and well being of everyone is more important than baseball. This time off has taught me a lot and realizing that there is more to life than sports is important. I loved my time playing baseball and I will never forget it; however, right now I just want this whole pandemic to end as soon as possible. When I heard the news I had just finished taking senior baseball pictures with my mom. The news is heart breaking, but I hope everyone can come to peace with it.

Sam Wesley
Baseball


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