During the summer, the IHSA was forced to make a lot of difficult decisions regarding the sports and the fall season due to COVID-19. The IHSA moved traditional fall sports like soccer and volleyball, deemed medium risk by the IDPH, and football, deemed high risk by the IDPH, to start on February 15th instead of August 10th. This new season is now referred to as the spring season. Because of this new season possibly ending in May, the IHSA also decided to push back the start date of all traditional spring sports to a summer season beginning on May 3rd. However, on September 14th, the IHSA decided to update its Return To Play guidelines by eliminating the two contests per week restriction for winter, spring, and summer sports and allowing the summer sports to start practice two weeks earlier on April 19th. Due to the lack of setbacks in the fall sports at that point and how well the state is handling the pandemic, the IHSA decided that they could move forward in their plan and allow schools to continue their winter, spring, and summer sports without further restrictions. On September 23, the IHSA made another decision and they decided to expand the postseason for Boys & Girls Golf and Boys & Girls Cross Country. “I am pleased that the IHSA is observing and collecting information and making decisions based off that change in information,” says Boys Cross Country Head Coach Kevin Renicker.
The Benet Boys Cross Country season looks much different this season than it has in years prior. Masks and social distancing are now required whenever the boys are not running, including times that they are doing exercises or stretching before and after practice. The team was still able to compete in many meets this season. Due to the lack of hosts for meets in the beginning of the season, coach Kevin Renicker decided that he wanted to create a three-mile course on the Benet campus to host meets during September. His plan was approved by Principal Marth and the Athletic Department so that Benet was able to host three successful, COVID-safe meets on campus. The course included parts of the parking lot, the soccer field, the grass area behind the school, and the asphalt between the soccer field and the stadium. For this course, runners were required to wear flat running shoes instead of spikes. After winning the Conference Championship over the weekend, Benet will be sending runners to the IHSA regional meet on October 24th and the IHSA sectional meet on October 31st. Coach Renicker and the Benet runners truly made the most of the opportunities given to them, making the 2020 Boys Cross Country season one to remember.