PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Are high school athletes are being reunited with their coaches this week as summer workouts begin.
In years past, June practices were hardly something to be excited about. But three months after the coronavirus outbreak halted high school sports in Illinois, these workouts feel different.
“I get to see all the guys again,” said Dunlap senior football player Doron Gulley. “We waited a long time, we were ready to get out here and start working again on this hot day. We were just excited to be with the team.”
Dunlap had two groups of 36 players arrive at the school Wednesday morning. The first group practiced at 7 a.m., the second group at 8:30.
The players were split into groups of nine with a coach overseeing each grouping. Some were on the football field, some in the weight room, some in the parking lot.
The Illinois High School Association summer workout guidelines call for health screening, social distancing and other health protocols. These voluntary practices in the first phase of workouts are limited to conditioning drills and weightlifting only.
But the athletes are glad to be back with their teams after a three-month absence. At Notre Dame, 21 players attended the school’s first summer soccer practice.
“I was really excited to come to practice today. Working out a 7 a.m., really hard workouts, is difficult,” said Notre Dame senior soccer player Charlie Waugh. “But it’s progress, we have to make progress.”
These practices have a three-hour time limit daily.
“We are socially distancing and everything. We are six feet apart from each other,” said Peoria High School senior football player Nicholas Petty. “We are just doing a lot of agility stuff and stuff that will get us back in shape.”