Teams continue workouts despite postseason uncertainty


Maria Shaughnessy

The girls soccer team does warm up drills before practice on March 11, only a few days before the announcement that Lab was to go online. In an effort to stay in touch while also abiding by social distancing measures, the team has bonded in creative ways such as a rock-paper-scissors tournament and other games.

The future of the spring athletics season remains up in the air, so some players are staying active and bonding with their teammates despite school closure and social distancing measures.

The school closure for an early spring break beginning March 13 created uncertainty, and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s April 17 announcement that schools would remain closed postponed a decision. The Illinois High School Association announced its board would meet April 21 to determine spring sports state tournaments.

The target date for resuming the sports seasons had been May 1, according to the IHSA website. 

Through mid-April, coaches were posting workouts, drills and other activities on Schoology to keep student-athletes engaged, and they organized a letter-writing campaign to honor seniors. 

In an interview prior to the governor’s announcement, Athletics Director David Ribbens considered the possibility of completely canceled seasons.

He said, “We do plan on honoring our seniors. Obviously if we do lose an entire spring season, we will have a way for us to recognize our seniors in a special way.”

Editor’s note: These interviews were conducted prior to the April 17 announcement that all Illinois schools would remain closed through the end of this school year.

Boys tennis

Despite school closure, tennis players continue to exercise and remain hopeful that the season will resume. 

I’ve waited for my senior season for four years, and to not have senior night, to not have the last season with all my teammates and all the fun memories, bus rides, and tournaments — I just think it’s very unfair, and I’m pretty sad about it.

— Charlie McGowan

Senior Charlie McGowan, a player on the tennis team who plans to play in college, said he works out four to five times a week doing bodyweight exercises, using weights at home and running around his neighborhood. He qualified for the state tournament last year playing doubles with junior Danny Han.

“My senior year would have been my best season, and I was really hoping to make it past sectionals and go to state again and do a lot of damage there and see if I can make it further than I did last year,” Charlie said.

Due to social distancing, the club and gym Charlie normally goes to are closed. 

“I’ve waited for my senior season for four years, and to not have senior night, to not have the last season with all my teammates and all the fun memories, bus rides, and tournaments — I just think it’s very unfair, and I’m pretty sad about it,” Charlie said.

Sophomore Andrew Swinger, another member of the tennis team, is also exercising to prepare for the season whether it resumes in the spring or next year. 

“I lift weights from time to time and I do ab exercises because I don’t want to fall down the drain and get weaker,” Andrew said. 


Track and field

Track and field team members continue to bond and follow weekly training plans to stay active and relieve stress. 

Senior Franzi Wild said she has been  running on average 5 miles every day and following the weekly training plans posted on Schoology.

Even without practices, Franzi said the girls team members stay connected by doing core exercises together once a week and holding Netflix Party sessions.

Reflecting on not having the social aspect of practices, Franzi said, “Those let you really talk to people, so the 45 minutes to an hour I would have spent talking with my friends and with the team — I’m no longer doing that, and I think we’re all missing that quite a lot.”

In addition to staying active and bonding with the team, Franzi said she runs to alleviate the stress of school closure and current events. 

“The sport that we are already used to doing ends up being a really great coping mechanism in kind of stressful and overwhelming times,” Franzi said. 

Senior Luke Sikora, who plans to compete in college, runs every other day for a total of about 30 miles a week. In addition, he said he does push-ups, sit-ups, and uses dictionaries as weights. 

“I saw a lot of younger guys really actually getting really into it and coming to practice every day and working really hard,” Luke said. “To see their season possibly get canceled really sucks, and definitely for my other senior classmates who aren’t running in college it’s kind of a bummer too.”



During the school closure, baseball team members have been holding Zoom calls to stay connected. Players are encouraged to do bodyweight exercises to stay in shape.

It isn’t realistic to keep playing these school-sponsored games if we don’t even have school, so I get it, but it’s frustrating.

— Theo Arado

Senior Zach Leslie, a catcher who has plans to continue playing in college, said he is taking advantage of the weights he got last Christmas to work out.

“I haven’t had too much trouble staying active because I am lucky enough to have the weights and the tools I need, and I have done running a couple times,” Zach said.

Sophomore Theo Arado also tries to exercise every day by doing bodyweight exercises including push-ups, sit-ups, core workouts, squats and lunges.

“I’m upset, but I understand why it’s happening,” Theo said, reflecting on the season. “It isn’t realistic to keep playing these school-sponsored games if we don’t even have school, so I get it, but it’s frustrating.”


Girls soccer

Although school closure means lost opportunities to shine during the season, girls soccer players continue to work out and stay connected on Schoology.

Senior Eleanor Skish, a player on the girls soccer team, said she is not set back by the small possibility of resuming the season, and she is trying to keep up her level of fitness with push-ups, sit-ups, wall-sits, lunges and running. 

“With the possibility of going back, I don’t want to feel like not myself,” Eleanor said. 

Coach Bannon Stroud posts workouts, drills and team bonding activities including a rock-paper-scissors bracket and “person of the day game,” where players guess a person’s favorite artist, food and movie.

Junior Sophie Raphael, who also plays for the Kics United Football Club, does strength training, running and high-intensity interval training to stay fit and release the stress of school and unpredictable current events with the coronavirus pandemic. 

“For me, soccer season never really ends, so whenever I get back to it, I’ve got to be in shape whether it’s this spring in school or whether it’s over the summer for club,” Sophie said.

Although she plays with a club, Sophie said she looks forward to playing for the U-High team the entire year. 

“Having some of my friends be captains, I was excited for them, ” Sophie said. “It’s a bummer because I feel like every year we look forward to what we’re going to accomplish, and now, we don’t really have that chance.”