Overlapping seasons make for hectic and fun times in high school sports

Cary-Grove senior Lauren Passaglia finished her basketball season about March 8 and jumped right into volleyball.

In a couple of weeks, Passaglia will switch from setting for the Trojans volleyball team to keeping goal for the soccer team.

Essentially, because of COVID-19 restrictions from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the majority of the IHSA sports calendar that normally would have covered 10 months is being squeezed into five.

That is fine with those involved, but it will make for hectic and busy schedules for athletes and coaches over the next few weeks with the transition from the IHSA’s spring schedule for football, boys soccer and volleyball, to its summer schedule, with its traditional spring sports.

“It’s crazy. Nobody expected much to happen (in the winter), and knowing I’ll be able to play all three is something I’m so thankful for,” said Passaglia, who will play volleyball at NCAA Division II Hillsdale (Michigan) College next fall. “Just in the hallways, now everyone’s back in school, everyone’s so happy to be there, there are sports to play and people to talk to. Everybody’s spirits are lifted these last few weeks, which is good to see.”

The winter sports season, which usually starts in late November, was pushed back to mid-February, when COVID-19 case numbers had declined to a low enough level for the IDPH to allow the resumption of athletics. The spring schedule started in mid-March and has 2 1/2 more weeks remaining.

Teams in baseball, softball, boys and girls lacrosse, boys tennis and girls soccer already are practicing and will start their seasons next week. Boys and girls track will start a week later and wrestling, moved from winter to summer, will start the first week of May.

Like the transition from winter to the new spring season, there will be athletes trying to work in practices for an upcoming sport while finishing competitions in another.

Huntley baseball coach Andy Jakubowski said he and football coach Matt Zimolzak have coordinated their usage of athletes who play both sports.

“We are working together to get the kids the best of both experiences,” said Jakubowski, who has about five players competing in football. “Some days they’ll work a little longer with football, and some days we’ll get them a little longer. Friday is game day, football takes precedence, but Saturdays are a (football) recovery day, so they can go with us.”

It is a far better problem to have than last year, when the entire spring sports season was wiped out. Many baseball and softball teams could have close to full schedules starting next week and the IHSA is having state finals in all the traditional spring sports that missed their seasons last year.

McHenry’s Gracie Gasmann and her sophomore sister Emerson went from basketball with the Warriors’ varsity to kicking in football (Gracie for varsity, Emerson for the freshman-sophomore team) and now will have one varsity soccer season together with their junior sister Sophie.

“We’ve both enjoyed playing these sports and being busy,” Gracie Gasmann said. “I go to football at the beginning and do team things, then kick by myself. Me and Emme do what we need to do with the team, then we go to soccer, kind of half and half.

“We’re used to (being busy). The overlapping is a little complicated, but the coaches are good at working with each other and making it easier on us.”

The three Gasmann sisters played travel soccer together once before.

“All three of us were really excited,” Gracie Gasmann said. “Now it really seems to matter since we’re in high school and this is varsity.”

Joe Stevenson

I have worked at the Northwest Herald since January of 1989, covering everything from high school to professional sports. I mainly cover high school sports now.