Asked on Friday what his team needed most heading into regionals, Huntley coach B.J. Bertelsman just wanted a normal schedule.
“I need a week of consistency,” Bertelsman said. “[The weather has] killed us.”
Huntley, along with the rest of the wrestling community, was not so lucky. Every school throughout McHenry County was closed Wednesday and remains closed Thursday.
For schools, that means no after-school activities. For wrestling, in particular, that means fewer practices leading up to IHSA regionals Saturday.
“We can’t practice,” Prairie Ridge coach Trey Breeden said. “We’re not allowed to practice at the building. We’re not allowed to have off-site practices. I mean, everybody’s in the same situation.”
Some schools held practices Tuesday after school, while others, such as Prairie Ridge and the rest of Crystal Lake-based School District 155, canceled all activities Tuesday. Even though school was canceled Monday, D-155 teams had the option to practice Monday afternoon after the roads were cleared of snow.
So the Wolves practiced Monday, but haven’t been on a mat since.
“Wrestling is one of those sports that a couple days off is like starting from scratch, as far as getting your gas tank going,” Breeden said.
It’s not an ideal time to be missing practice, but if there’s any solace, every team throughout the area is in the same situation.
“There’s not a whole lot you can do,” Marian Central coach David Silva said. “The most important thing is to make sure that we’re all healthy on Saturday. Make sure that they’re staying indoors.”
Silva noted that by this point, “The work’s been done.” Practices this time of year are all about fine-tuning the small things. Silva isn’t too worried about the hiatus affecting his team, which heads to the Class 2A Harvard Regional, along with Prairie Ridge and six other McHenry County teams.
With temperatures rising into the 20s on Friday, school figures to be back in session. Silva said that on the Friday before a big tournament, he likes to drill his team hard, although maybe not as long as earlier in the week.
“It’s more for your timing, like football does their walkthroughs,” Silva said. “Similar to that, but in wrestling, we can’t walk through the plays. We have to get our shots at the same intensity and same speed. We’re just not going to do as many repetitions.”
When practices wrapped up Tuesday, coaches gave their wrestlers some parting words.
“Find some time to get a workout in the next two days,” Jacobs coach Gary Conrad told his team. “Make sure you’re blowing your lungs out with a big run or something. And watch your weight.”
Conrad said weight management is his biggest concern this week as his team prepares for the Class 3A Dundee-Crown Regional.
“I know the kids can go to Life Time [Fitness], CrossFit, wherever they’ve got memberships, but mat time is pretty valuable right now,” Conrad said. “Being able to manage weights, stay in shape. You work so hard to get to this point, then you miss two days and it’s like you step back a week.”
Silva said he advised his athletes to watch film at home, or simply just get some pushups in.
“It’s unfortunate that we can’t practice, but this kind of stuff happens,” Silva said. “I’m very confident that our guys are going to be ready to go.”