Athletic matches canceled amidst COVID protocols

Katie Dalton, Head Multimedia Editor

Naperville Central High School varsity boys basketball and wrestling matches were both canceled and rescheduled the first two days of school after winter break. The boy’s basketball game against DeKalb High School was scheduled to run on Jan. 7.

While Omicron variant COVID-19 case numbers rise, Illinois High School Association (IHSA) athletic teams have continued to compete. They constantly monitor caseloads that might impact competition. Varsity head boys basketball coach Pete Kramer decided to postpone the DeKalb game after low numbers of players at practice the week prior to when the game was supposed to take place. 

“We had five kids at practice out of 16 and then we had nine kids practice on Wednesday and Thursday,” Kramer said. “We thought it was because of COVID and injuries. We just weren’t going to go into the weekend with not even half strength and definitely not full strength.”

COVID has impacted the boys basketball program throughout the first few weeks of second semester since winter break. 

“ I would say COVID has definitely had an impact,” Kramer said. “It hit us right in the middle of the year around Christmas break, and affected us for a few weeks. It’s gone through our program because it not only hit our varsity program, but it hit the lower levels too.”

Similarly, the wrestling team was set to have a match on Jan. 8 at Downers Grove North High School. The match was canceled due to COVID concerns on Central’s team. 

“The match was canceled because we had a couple of cases of COVID on the team,” varsity head coach Noah Fitzenreider said. “I think the school just thought it would be a smart decision to shut down for a little while and make sure it didn’t spread more.”

The wrestling team is adjusting to the rise in COVID cases by ensuring that there are athletes to step up in place of someone who has to isolate. Fitzenreider emphasizes the next man up standard in training in order to prepare Central wrestlers for any situation that may occur this season.

“I think the one thing we do is if somebody has to take time off, we just teach everybody that we need the next man up kind of standard, where somebody is out and somebody fills in,” Fitzenreider said. 

The IHSA has not announced any changes to protocols and is continuing competition. The wrestling match at Downers Grove North High School will not be rescheduled. The boys basketball game against DeKalb High School is rescheduled to take place on Jan. 26.