Belvidere’s Sternquist looks forward to high school sports in Region 1

Low-risk sports can begin practice immediately.
Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 11:01 PM CST
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BELVIDERE, Ill. (WIFR) - Governor J.B. Pritzker gave the okay for low-risk sports to resume. But while high-risk sports like basketball continue to sit on the shelf, one local athletic director looks at the positives.

“We’re starting to get answers to a lot of uncertainty.”

High school sports in Illinois have been on hiatus since the middle of November. But with the state moving a few Regions into Tier 2 (Region 1, 2, 5), low-risk sports like boys and girls bowling, boys swimming and diving, competitive cheer and competitive dance can begin practice. Region 1 is made up of Boone, Carrol, DeKalb, Jo Davies, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, and Winnebago County.

“There’s a lot of passion in Northern Illinois for sports, said Belvidere Athletic Director Josh Sternquist. “We’ve got excellent athletics up here and excellent kids.”

After months of playing the waiting game, Sternquist said it’s nice to finally have direction with at least some of the winter sports.

”Based on what’s happened, most of us (athletic directors), probably in the state, have corrected our schedules a couple times already,” explained Sternquist. “This might be our third, maybe some fourth time changing schedules.

With just a month left in the IHSA’s originally modified winter sports schedule, Sternquist knows time is starting to dwindle.

“As athletic directors, we want to see what that schedule looks like, because if we do have overlap, or we do start moving sports, now we have sports competing against sports and athletes having to choose.”

However, he also realizes the benefits to getting back to sports.

“I think that it’s going to help our kids mentally, socially,” said Sternquist. “It’s going to relieve a lot of stress I think that is mounting right now.”

Sternquist is excited about what’s next.

“This is our first step and I’m looking forward to more steps. We just have to be safe and healthy. I have no doubt we’ll continue to add more and more activities.”

The IHSA Board of Directors plans to meet again on January 27. However, IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson anticipates schedules for low-risk sports competition to come out before that meeting.

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