By James Kay
It was a bumpy road to get there, but high schools sports are back. The IHSA recently announced new guidelines for fall sports and programs in our coverage area and teams started practicing on Aug. 10 to get back into the swing of things. Here's the latest news on what is happening in local sports.
IHSA provides thorough guidelines for fall sports
Over the last five months, high school athletes, parents and coaches have all waited for a firm answer on what a year in prep sports would look like. Last week, the IHSA announced it will pivot from a traditional three-season campaign and replace it with four shortened seasons.
Since then, the IHSA has provided teams and families with new guidelines that answer some of the questions around how teams will travel to game events, how referees and officials will operate this season, workouts requirements and safety procedures.
Right now, athletic directors and coaches within each respective conference are communicating about how a season would work and what options are available for their programs. The IHSA has said it is still trying to figure out how a state series would work and coaches that I have talked to have told me that figuring out regular season meets are the first priority.
You can find the IHSA's latest guidelines on its website.
RBHS tennis raises funds for season
When Riverside-Brookfield High School tennis coach Sam Weiss organized what he hopes to be an annual tennis tournament to raise funds for his program, he had modest expectations due to COVID-19. His goal entering the singles and doubles tournaments was $500.
However, after word got out that he was looking for more participants, the community stepped up in a major way.
Between the two tournaments, Weiss raised over $2,000, which was $1,000 more than the event raised last year.
"I was blown away by the commitment from this community and its support," said Weiss. "There was a guy who drove all the way up here for the doubles tournament who told me that his daughter used to be a part of the program. He said after he saw the article in the Landmark that he wanted to make a donation. A lot of people stepped up like that and asked how they could donate and where to write a check. I can't thank them enough."
Weiss said that he had to turn people away from participating due to how many of them ended up wanting to play in the tournaments. He went on to say that the funds will be used for equipment and sanitation for the upcoming season.
Fenwick star decommits from Louisville
Fenwick's Bryce Hopkins made a name for himself in summer showcases and tournaments which led to him garnering a scholarship from Louisville University. He led the Friars to the sectional finals (which were canceled due to COVID-19) last season and tantalized Cardinal fans with his college ready skill set.
However, Hopkins decommitted from the Cardinals after the program found itself in another recruitment scandal.
"I opened up my recruitment because there were a lot of uncertainties on what is going on with the sanctions," Hopkins told 247Sports. "They also keep appealing [the sanctions] which is only making it harder on me."
Hopkins is the No. 2-rated prospect in Illinois and is ranked No. 32 in the ESPN 100. Since his announcement to reopen his recruitment process, University of Oregon and University of Notre Dame have offered him scholarships.
Fifth Nazareth football player transfers
Nazareth Academy continues to feel the fallout of COVID-19's impact on Illinois high school sports. Earlier in the year, former Nazareth quarterback J.J. McCarthy transferred out of the state so he could play football in the fall.
Since then, four more Roadrunners football players have decided to play elsewhere this upcoming season with the IHSA moving football to the spring. Wide receiver Landon Morris, center Domenic Virelli and offensive tackle Ryan Keeler leave a hole in the offense, while defensive lineman Amarion Evans announced on Twitter that he is also leaving the school.