COVID-19 pause keeps Streator out of boys bowling regional, while nearby La Salle-Peru rolls on

Both schools have halted sports, L-P with an exception

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On Saturday morning when 13 high school boys bowling teams arrive at Channahon Lanes ready to compete in the IHSA’s Minooka Regional, the La Salle-Peru Cavaliers will be one of them.

The Streator Bowlin’ Bulldogs will not.

While both schools late last week enacted an “adaptive pause” to in-person learning and sports through the close of this week because of high COVID-19 numbers in their student populations, La Salle-Peru’s initial notification on its pause on winter sports included a notable exception.

“We are also going to pause extracurricular practices and competitions, except for final conference competitions and any state level series,” L-P’s Jan. 7 statement read.

Streator’s Jan. 6 adaptive pause statement included no such language, and into the middle of this week school officials were discussing whether to allow its team to participate.

As of Wednesday afternoon, no exception had been granted, effectively ending the team’s season.

“Basically the reasoning behind it is our pause goes until Tuesday, Jan. 18,” Streator athletic director Rory Bedeker said late Wednesday afternoon after notifying the team and parents who had contacted him of the decision.

“That was the original intent of the people who made the decision, to go [remote and pause extracurriculars] until Tuesday the 18th, and after talking with the superintendent, that’s where they’re staying at.”

Streator has an interim superintendent, Henry Boer, in place through the end of this school year.

Because of the shutdown of sports last school year in efforts to contain the pandemic, it will mark the second straight season Streator’s boys team has been unable to compete in a state tournament. It also closes the careers of seniors Adam Jakupcak, Keith Scott and Ben Pond.

“All I can say is that I am very disappointed in the decision that a few people made for our team,” Streator coach Nancy Longnecker said, “and very upset that the boys won’t get the chance to participate in something they have worked so hard for.”

Sports and in-person learning for Streator are, at this time, expected to fully resume Tuesday, three days after the boys bowling regional.

Twenty-nine miles away after having received an exception to their pause, La Salle-Peru’s boys bowling team has made the most of its opportunity to finish its season.

On Tuesday, the Cavaliers hosted and won the Interstate Eight Conference Boys Bowling Tournament, led by one-two individual finishes from juniors Ethan Picco and Chance Hank.

The Cavaliers are scheduled and cleared to compete in Saturday’s regional in Channahon despite the school’s COVID-19-caused move to remote learning and a pause on other sports.

“It was an administrative decision to allow the boys bowling team to compete in their conference tournament and regional this week while all other regular-season activities are paused,” La Salle-Peru athletic director Dan Le said.

“While the safety and well-being of our student body as well as reducing the spread are priorities during LPHS’s adaptive pause, the social-emotional health of our students was also taken into consideration given the fact that these students did not have the opportunity to compete at the conference tournament or in a regional last year.”

The high school girls bowling season begins and ends three weeks behind the boys season, with regionals not scheduled to take place until Feb. 5.