Prep Sports

It’s a crazy time for sports, and we love it

After going so long with no school sports to follow, some only by stream, and to write it about, it’s certainly nice to have them all back.

And wow do we have them.

At present, there are 15 different high school sports going on around the state, including ones like boys gymnastics and coed water polo and lacrosse, as the IHSA has tried to get every sport a little piece of the pie.

Locally, there are 10 active sports in season.

Volleyball is winding down this week for most area schools, while Princeton will run another week.

Football is in its fifth of six scheduled weeks, though Bureau Valley and Hall are turning in their gear after this weekend’s games to allow their athletes to better transition to the true spring sports.

Baseball and softball practices got under way last week with the first games played Wednesday for some teams, others next week.

Practices for track and field and boys tennis also started last week with competition set to begin after seven practices.

Boys soccer will wrap up this week, giving way to girls soccer matches next week.

Wrestling will jump into the fray with practices starting up Monday and run through June 12 with no state series.

All the seasons for the traditional spring sports, which were canceled last year, will run through June 19 and include a state series.

It’s crazy, but it’s what we expect after all the craziness from the past year.

The more sports the merrier for a sports guy like me, even though I have to double check exactly which sport I’m heading to cover.

No one knows about overlapping seasons better than Princeton soccer coach David Gray. He’s faced a 12-day overlap between coaching the boys and girls teams, facing long days of practicing with the girls at 6 a.m. and getting home at 8 p.m. after some boys matches on the road.

“Coaching both programs has been tough. I am pretty tired at this time,” said Gray, who relies on his assistant/dad Mark for help. “The players have had a great attitude about it throughout, and that has made the extra effort worth it. My fear is that I have not been at my full abilities and the teams are not getting all they should from me.

“I know this is temporary and we will all get through it. Just like the players this has been a learning experience for me, and I believe that in the end I will be a better coach for it.”

It’s certainly taking a lot of cooperation between the coaches of different sports.

Princeton football coach Ryan Pearson held practices in the morning while basketball was going on to allow his kids to do both sports.

There are eight girls at Princeton who have splitting time between volleyball matches and practices and softball practices with the first softball game set for Monday in the final week of volleyball.

All the boys coaches at St. Bede have made for smooth transitions between sports and overlapping seasons between basketball coach Brian Hanson, football coach Jim Eustice and baseball coach Bill Booker. It helps that Booker is Eustice’s assistant for football and Eustice is Booker’s assistant in baseball.

“We’re trying to make it so the kids don’t have to choose, so they can do everything they want to do. So far, it’s just been great. When it comes down to it, it is all about the kids,” Eustice said.

“I’m just so happy to see so many smiles on St. Bede’s kids’ faces. We’ve had good student bodies at our (football games). Two months ago, we didn’t think any of this was going to happen, so every day we get to do it is just icing on the cake.”

It is nice to see all the smiling faces these days. We’ve all deserve to smile after what we’ve gone through the past year.

Play Ball!

Kevin Hieronymus is the BCR Sports Editor. Contact him at