Limestone senior suspended from cross country meets for IHSA violation days before conference meet

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BARTONVILLE, Ill. (WMBD) — Limestone High School cross country runner Bryce Baker is being forced to sit out, just days before what could be one of his final races.

“We had no idea that was against the rules,” said Bob Baker, Bryce’s father.

Bryce was suspended on Tuesday after running the ShaZam Racing Crush Covid 3-mile event over Labor Day weekend. He finished in just over 19 minutes.

“We didn’t really think it was a race, it was more of just helping a small business out,” said Bob.

According to Illinois High School Association bylaws, participating in the event is a violation since it was a non-sanctioned event. Executive Director Craig Anderson said Bryce is suspended from his next two events.

During the school season for a given sport, in a school which maintains a school team in that sport, a student shall not participate on any non-school team, nor as an individual unattached in non-school competition, in that given sport or in any competition that involves the skill of the sport in question.”

IHSA bylaws section 3.101

Bob said it’s devastating news and heartbreaking for his son. Bob said they didn’t know it was a violation.

“When I first heard about it, it really brought, it was hard to talk about, there were tears in my eyes. This kid has busted his butt to do this and it’s something he loves,” said Bob. “If I was aware of this, Bryce would’ve never ran.”

The Bakers are trying to overturn the suspension. They have a hearing with IHSA leaders on Monday.

“They’ll hear our appeal and if we win that appeal, they’ll reduce his suspension from two varsity meets to one,” said Bob.

It could give Bryce a chance to run again with his team.

“If they don’t qualify at sectionals, his season could be over with,” said Baker.

Bob said he hopes sharing Bryce’s story will spread the word about IHSA bylaws and violations so other athletes don’t jeopardize their eligibility.

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