COVID-19 Cancels Winter Sports State Runs

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With the outbreak of COVID-19, the IHSA decided to cancel all winter sports seasons still competing, which effected Naperville Central Boys Basketball, Benet Academy Boys Basketball, and the Warrior Hockey Club. Hear the athlete and coaches responses in this feature, presented by Edward Medical Group. 

The Reaction

“I burst in to tears, it’s more then my season ending, it’s the end of my basketball career, it’s the end of something I’ve loved for so long, I put so much work in to get to the point that we were, to get that ripped from you for something that was so out of your control. There’s nothing that I could have done to keep the season going, which is the toughest part.”

Senior Cam Daughtery, a member of the Naperville Central boys basketball team, found out last Thursday night that he would no longer be competing for a sectional title. The season abruptly came to an end with the outbreak of COVID-19. The IHSA canceled all winter sports still in competition, which not only affected Central. Benet Academy was supposed to have a basketball game that same night, when they got the call.

Coach Heidkamp: “So it is completely devastating to get here at this point, dressed, ready to play. To get to the door and realize that the season is over, it’s probably unintentionally cruel but our kids our very emotional. Our seniors are finished. And it’s quite a unique to have a group finished at no fault of their own.”

Along with the basketball teams, the Warrior Hockey club was also on their way to defending their state title in the combined Blackhawk cup but the hockey league also decided to stop play.

Spring sports are also on hold until further notice, until more information is known about COVID-19 … which again effects Dougherty, a member of the Central Water Polo team.

“The water polo program the last 5 years has been doing things that haven’t been replicated in Illinois except for Fenwick early on in WP history,” remarks Dougherty.

The Redhawks, who have won the state championship 3 times in the last 4 years, do not know if they will be able to defend their title. They aren’t alone. The Naperville North and Benet Academy girls soccer teams looked to repeat as state champions along with the individual state title winners like Bhaavya Mankionda from North Badminton and Riley Ammenauser from Neuqua Valley track. Naperville Central athletic Director Andy Lutzenkirchen spoke on the basketball cancellations but what he says still holds true for the spring sports as well, “We will see what happens in the next couple of days, it’s kind of a trickle down effect where things are changing every minute, so we are following it, we are going to follow the guidance of the professionals and the doctors. “

As for Cam, he just wants one more memory in the pool with his teammates before moving on to play Water Polo at Harvard University, “The tradition we’ve built here and the teammates and the relationships we’ve developed in the pool I want to be a part of that one more time, I’m playing the sport in college but I want to have my senior year. I think me and so many other athletes around the country are losing their senior season of sports which is what you look forward to your whole life. And it’s tragic but there is nothing we can do about it. “

Right now, every athlete, coach, and athletic director is at home, trying to stay healthy and waiting for any news about the rest of their school year and season hoping that this isn’t the end.

Dougherty: “I didn’t have any regret on my basketball career here at Central my basketball career as a whole …. And then gratitude. I’m thankful for every single second I was able to spend in that gym as a Redhawk and my Friday nights and everything that goes in to I’m just thankful I was able to wear red and white for four years and it’s just sad it couldn’t end how it should be.”

Check out other stories like this one in our Sports Stories Page!

If you want more information about COVID-19 check out Naperville News 17.