ARCOLA — Lincoln Prairie Conference members Okaw Valley and Arcola are two of the area volleyball programs enjoying the first phase of the IHSA's "Return to Play."
At Okaw Valley, coach Sara McDowell is pleased with how things are going.
“It has been going really well and we have 20-25 that workout in three different groups for one hour each three days a week,” said McDowell whose team was 23-11 last year, reaching a regional championship game. “We were unsure about how many girls would show up and whose parents would feel comfortable sending them.”
McDowell said they are doing conditioning and body weight exercises and cardiovascular-type things.
Girls cross country, golfers and girls’ basketball players are also participating.
“I hope sometime next week we will find out when we can do more,” said McDowell. “It is a waiting game to see what we can do. I hope we can get the full team together for conditioning type of things.”
The Lady Timberwolves practice Monday, Tuesday and Thursday morning for an hour each.
At Arcola, first-year coach Lauren Hamilton has her team practicing Monday and Wednesday nights, and Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
“I got together with the softball coach (Cara Roberts) and we have combined the two programs and have been outside conditioning and getting stronger and faster," she said.
Hamilton is excited to find out more about the girls.
“They are getting to know me and I am getting to know them,” said Hamilton. “Now I can put the names with the faces. Everyone is showing up and working hard and we have everyone coming back (this season) and that is a good sign.”
Arcola split up their weight-lifting, putting some on the stage in the junior high gym and the others remaining in the weight room.
“We are hoping we can start incorporating weights,” said Hamilton, who hopes the second phase starts next week. “Health and safety is the first priority. We will wait on the next school plan on what to do. We are not going to be greedy. Just being able to work out is great. It shows how much the kids missed sports as they are excited to be working out and enjoy what they are doing. I hope there will be some kind of return to normalcy.”
For Windsor/Stewardson-Strasburg, hasn't been able to do anything yet. The school board ruled: “Conditions are not worth all of the restrictions,” said WSS coach Ronda Schlechte.
“I let the girls know it is in the works, but I don’t know what we will be able to do in phase two," Schlechte said. "I'm hoping to hear Monday about that phase.”
The Hatchets were 25-15 last year and made it to the Class 1A Sweet Sixteen.
My town: Mike Monahan looks at 4 baseball fields, one softball field
Contact Mike Monahan at (217)-238-6854. Follow him on Twitter: @monahanmikejgtc
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