Like most things so far in 2020, this fall sports season has been unusual. Even though football Fridays and fan buses for girls volleyball won’t be seen until at least second semester, athletics at Benet are still in full swing.
Coach Reniker and the boys cross country team have been to seven meets so far, as well as the ESCC Championship meet that took place on Saturday, October 17th. Whether or not spectators are allowed to these meets depends on the school hosting the meet, and at the upcoming sectional meet, spectators are prohibited. However, as junior cross country runner Jack Derbis says, “there are still a lot of people at the race—your team members, other teams, and parents that volunteer to help with the course—that cheer you on as you go by.” The girls cross country team has seen many personal bests this year, according to senior runner Elizabeth Camic. When meets don’t allow any spectators, she says “we handle that the best way possible.” Elizabeth also notes that even though COVID has changed this cross country season, the girls “find motivation from within.” Both the boys and girls cross country teams are required to wear masks at all times when not running, even at races, huddles, and team stretches. At the start line for races, runners are spaced six feet apart in order to comply with social distancing; this also means that the number of teams is limited this season.
So far this season, the boys and girls golf practices have adapted changes commonly seen in the world of COVID—temperature checks before practice, proof of no symptoms, and the requirement of masks when social distancing—as well as leaving the hole right after the last shot. The biggest difference in the boys golf season is the fact that all of the Saturday invites have been cancelled due to COVID. Senior Quinn Shanley says, “generally, the most fun part of our season is where we can test our abilities against many of the best golf teams in the state.” Even though these invites can’t happen this year, the members of the team have still enjoyed the companionship and fun of the sport. The Benet boys golf team won the conference on September 29th, and placed 2nd at regionals on October 6th.
Despite changes in protocols due to the coronavirus, the girls golf team has had an amazing season. Abby Doyle was nominated for NCTV’s Play of the Month for the month of September, and junior Olivia Ruffalo and senior Grace George advanced to Sectionals at Silver Lake Country Club which took place on October 13th.
Girls tennis has seen the least amount of changes due to COVID protocols since it is already such a socially distant sport. “The only big difference is wearing masks when you’re off the court or close to people, and not sharing tennis balls in matches,” senior Meredith Green explains. There is no state championship this year, but the girls tennis team was still very excited to compete in Conference and Sectionals.
Finally, the girls swim team has had their meets divided between JV and Varsity teams, which is different than in previous years. The swimmers must stay socially distant at practices, meaning fewer girls swimming per lane. Social distancing has also led to fewer opponents at meets, and instead of spectators, parents and loved ones tune into the livestream for each meet. There are still playoffs this year for the girls swim team, but there are no specifics yet as to how sectionals will look this year. Sophomore swimmer Margot Sennett explains, “Conference will consist of sets of ‘tri-meets.’ Over three days and at four separate locations, meets will have three teams swimming at each meet. Then, they will combine all the times to see who wins.” The IHSA Sectionals will take place the following weekend, on October 24th.
All in all, the Redwing spirit has yet to be defeated even in times of a pandemic! Best of luck to all the Benet athletes!