Athlete workouts underway
For the first time in months, students were on the campus of Prairie Central High School this week.
Summer conditioning has started for volleyball and football with weight lifting, agility work and stretching.
“A couple of weeks ago, the IHSA put out a set of guidelines called the IHSA Return to Play stage one,” explains PC head football coach Andrew Quain. “You can have groups of nine with one coach then they have to stay in those groups.”
Coaches must schedule the athletes to come in and health protocol questions are asked all while maintaining social distancing.
“We are not coming together as a full team yet but able to work in these kind of small group pods,” Quain added.
The next step depends on what reopening stage the state is in. IHSA has not given guidance but is in the same boat as everyone else – waiting for further advice before making the next decision.
“This is a great first step because just being in general condition is probably the hardest thing to do and you could tell guys were knocking off some rust yesterday as it was the first time working out for many of them,” observed Quain.
PC football has been doing at-home workouts since March with football staff sending workouts home ever since the COVID-19 shutdown began.
“The football staff has been putting in a lot of hours to connect with the kids and this is kind of the next step.”
Ever since Coach Quain met with his group of seniors in January, they have expressed intentions to compete for a state championship this season. The Hawks had a successful football campaign in 2019 as they were a quarterfinal team.
“We are lucky to be returning a lot of our juniors. We’ve got some big shoes to fill with our graduating seniors,” Quain said.
The workouts have been scheduled for two weeks, taking place Monday through Thursdays with nothing planned for the last week of June heading into the Fourth of July holiday. This will be re-evaluated July 6 which is when Quain hopes to progress to more football-specific work if allowed.
Different groups of girls have been participating in volleyball summer conditioning which is not mandatory. They also have certain procedures to follow in order to stay safe.
“It’s new and we are all still learning every day,” said PC head volleyball coach Allyn Krenz. “We are taking it as it is and seeing what we need to adapt and change.”
Krenz believes the girls are happy to be out and about again as they were singing and dancing on the first day of workouts. She admits not being able to have face-to-face meetings and open gyms has been difficult.
“Being behind a screen, it is really hard to connect with someone not having that eye contact.”
The volleyball team has eight seniors this year, which Krenz considers “huge.” The varsity team is pretty much the same as last year but they are missing six graduates who were an essential part of the team. Krenz is excited about both the junior varsity and varsity teams.
“I have one year under my wing now so it’s nice to have that confidence as a coach.”