BELOIT—There will be winter sports in Beloit.
The Beloit Turner school board voted 4-2 in favor of having both boys and girls basketball along with wrestling participate, with several restrictions intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
The factors include all players and coaches wearing masks at all times, no fans or media in attendance, and several other safety protocols that must be followed. A key element of the return to play at Turner is following a consistent protocol.
“The suggestion is that winter athletes will be virtual only,” Turner girls basketball coach Nick Faralli said. “If there are any needs, academic or otherwise, and kids need to be in-person, they can do that. If they are, they would be in a class with only other winter athletes to limit exposure to the rest of the student body. The whole point of this was done to make things as safe as possible for our athletes to still be able to compete.
“The administration did a great job working hand-in-hand with us to create that plan. They took our input and allowed us to have a voice, and we are on board with every safety measure they’ve put in.”
The Trojans girls basketball team is set to begin practice Monday. Faralli said his team is eager to get started.
“We should be ready to go with our tryouts on Monday and then get our teams ready beginning Tuesday,” Faralli said. “We’ve been easing them into things for the last couple of months. We started with one player, one basket, then we had them partner up. The cleaning and sanitizing that we’ve done in the offseason will continue as they have been.”
The season will start with varsity competition only, with JV teams practicing. As the season moves on, the plan is for those teams to begin competition in January.
Faralli said Monday night was a nervous evening around his home.
“I was refreshing my email quite a bit, just waiting for the news,” Faralli said. “When it finally came through, I sent a green light gif to our team group chat, and got a lot of happy replies very quickly. That was a message I was definitely happy to relay, because it’s been eight months of not knowing what the next step was for these girls.”
The Trojans are tentatively scheduled to open up their season Nov. 24 in Edgerton, but Faralli said a number of the scheduling details are yet to be decided.
“With the non-conference games, we have to make sure that other teams are following the same protocol as we are,” Faralli said. “So if we are scheduled to travel to a school that is allowing fans, they would have to either change their policy for that game, or come here and play.”
The Turner boys will start practice on Nov. 23. Coach Ken Watkins will have the same measures in place.