One of the many effects of the Covid-19 outbreak has been the loss of high school sports seasons so far and the potential loss of the complete season. IHSA has worked within the governor’s guidelines to make the best, informed decisions for the student-athletes of Illinois. However, our athletes and runners are greatly impacted. One of these high school standouts is Arianna Walker of Rich South High School who was on pace for an outstanding season and would have been a state qualifier for the indoor and outdoor season.
Junior track star Arianna Walker is only one example of thousands of high school athletes impacted by the closure of schools, but she is the perfect example of an outstanding All Star track athlete and student who may have to look for next season to further make her mark. Arianna was off to a great start in the indoor season with Rich South winning the Thorton Invitational and Olivet Nazarene Invitational. Ari helped the team win these meets with first place finishes in the 60, 200, 400 and Long Jump. She was ranked 3rd in the state for the 60m and the 4th for 200m dash and in the top ten for the 400 and Long Jump. Ari was looking forward to improving her times, qualifying for state, and bonding with her team. Like other high school athletes, Ari is anxiously waiting for the season to continue and is realistic this may not happen. She expresses well what most high school athletes are thinking “my disappointment is great…all spring sports, not just track have been working extremely hard and had goals to achieve.”
Stakes are high for Ari as Rich South High School will be part of a consolidation of all Rich Township Schools into one school district and one athletic program next year. The track program will be moving from 2A to 3A. The last Rich South track season may not happen. Fortunately, for Ari she will have one more season next year to achieve her goals, and no doubt she will. Ari “plans to go out with a bang with hard work and dedication!” Her goal is to receive a college scholarship for track and to continue her running career while working for a degree in medicine. Head Coach Sharon Green states Ari has great motivation to “put the hammer down and get the job done” for next year. Good luck to Ari-you can achieve these goals! Our thoughts are with all of the high school runners and athletes out there in their loss of their seasons. Keep the faith…and keep running!