Sports allowed to return to central Illinois

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Central Ill. (WCIA) —

“A Fisher athlete come up to me and tell me hey Mr. Diskin, did you hear sports are back? And I said what,” Fisher Athletic Director Cody Diskin said.

That was a reaction a lot of people had today. State officials announced sports are once again allowed to play and compete in central Illinois.

Athletes, coaches, parents, and athletic directors were shocked and excited about the news, but some questions still have to be answered before they move forward.

The Champaign School District still hasn’t officially made a call on what its teams will do. Athletes in that district are waiting, while trying not to get their hopes up too high. Meanwhile, other schools are jumping on the opportunity.

Henry Hamelberg is a basketball player and senior at Central High School in Champaign.

“Its just kind of hard to know what to believe, but that’d be awesome if we could have a season,” Hamelberg said.

That’s what the state “okay-ed” today.
Public health officials and the governor announced sports can return in regions that are in phase four. That includes regions three and six, which are both in central Illinois.

Hamelberg still hasn’t heard exactly what his district is going to do with the news, but he’s still excited about the news.
One parent in Mahomet feels the same.

“It’s been such an up and down roller coaster. We’ve had almost announcements. We’ve had disappointments. We’ve had really low points and so we’re trying not to get our hopes up too high,” Nikki Gallier said.

Nikki Gallier’s kids are thrilled.

“I think today provided that light at the end of the tunnel that all these Illinois kids have needed so desperately,” Gallier said.

Other schools like Fisher are excited to have sports back as well. Athletic Director Cody Diskin says they have to wait until the IHSA meets before they can make any schedules.

“The only news we found out is that sports is back,” Diskin said.

Currently that meeting is scheduled to take place next Wednesday, January 27, but Diskin can’t wait to get the ball rolling.

“We’re excited to be able to have our athletes be able to compete in every single sport and just ecstatic for our seniors to make those memories with teammates,” Diskin said.

Seniors like Hamelberg are hoping for that chance, too.

“I mean I’m just hopeful that we have a season, that’d be nice. Even if we don’t get to play that many games, it’d just be nice. Play with the guys on my team and have one last season together,” Hamelberg said.

Guidelines for sports in Indiana are different. Hamelberg says he and other athletes from Central High have been driving to Indiana to play.

Illinois is the last state in Midwest to green light sports. Other states surrounding Illinois have already allowed basketball and football.

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