Student athletics resume play amid COVID-19


Libertyville senior Chris Mulligan and his teammates talk on the ice at an Ice Cats game.

District 128 student athletes waited all summer for fall sports to begin, however, this time period looks unlike previous seasons.

During the extended offseason, many student athletes have turned to new hobbies and activities, but some stuck with their primary sports, like Lexi Schulman (10). Girls golf coach, Mr. Stephen Downey mentions, “Lexi, our top player, was only able to play in about six tournaments, where she may have played about 15 tournaments. So a lot of tournaments were canceled in the summer.” 

Other teams, such as hockey, dance, and cheerleading, had optional team bonding activities such as getting dinner as a team or doing small group workouts. Many gathered at parks and other public spaces to keep up with teammates for the seasons ahead. 

Other players chose to pick up new sports due to restrictions or delays on their usual activities. According to Nicole Tartakovsky (12), “This year, many more girls tried out for the tennis team due to fall sports being pushed back to the spring. We created two JV2 teams (JV Silver and JV Blue) to allow all athletes who tried out to play,” she said. “Our team members were very happy to see new players join the team and enjoy the sport with us.” Many have turned to these new sports as a way to stay busy throughout the year and stay in shape for potentially rejoining their usual teams.

Even after approval for returning to play, many teams in D128 are experiencing periodic changes to the regulations they have to follow during their sport. 

Chris Mulligan (12) from Libertyville High School, describes how his last season for the Ice Cats has been different compared to past seasons: “We’ve still been able to practice, but we haven’t been playing any games at all. We haven’t been allowed to travel out of the state to play games, and at our practices we can basically just develop our skills; we’re not able to do all the stuff we would typically do. And then at the rink, we always have to be wearing masks, except when we’re on the ice.”

When asked about how the Girls Golf team is doing in regard to work-ethic and team composition, Coach Downey replied optimistically, saying, “I think I’ve been happy that, as a program, we can provide something that’s fun and a way for them to still see their peers and get outside and have some competition.” Having an activity to look forward to at the end of the school day is something many students look forward to, however, it hasn’t been an option for many lately. 

Maya Oppenheim and Tyler Svrusis contributed to this article.