Hillsboro Boys Track Coach Adam Haston hopes he is wrong, but he has a feeling that 2020 may be about “what might have been.”
“When April 30th comes around, I just don’t see them rolling the dice and saying, ‘Let’s go back to school,’ then have this start back up again,” Haston said on the shelter-in order that has cancelled school for at least this month. “The IHSA has talked about extending the season into the summer and I hope that goes through, just to give the kids a chance to participate, even if it’s in July. It’s never going to fit for everybody, so hopefully they don’t just give up on the whole thing. If it fits for even half of the athletes, give those athletes, those seniors, their final send off. It’s not about the majority. It’s about the ones who can.”
The possible cancellation is particularly heartbreaking for the seniors across all sports and Hillsboro boys track is no exception. Haston has two seniors on this year’s team, Ian Roach and Trevor Toberman, and both would have a chance to qualify for the IHSA Class 2A state tournament if it were to be held.
“I only have six guys on the team this year. I’m consistently between 18 to 22 guys and this year we have six,” Haston said, before adding, “but I couldn’t be happier with the guys I have.”
For Roach, the cancellation could cost him a shot at a school record and maybe a medal in the long jump, where he has continued to progress over the last four years. According to Haston, Roach has gone from jumping 15’6” as a freshman to 17’6” as a sophomore and 20’7” at the end of his junior year. In Hillsboro’s trip to the Jacksonville indoor meet, their only meet of the season thus far, Roach jumped 20’9”, just eight inches behind the school record of 21’5”.
“He said after soccer got over he was doing nothing but strength training for long jump,” Haston said. “He’s already ahead of his personal record at the very first meet and Mike Wells said he was probably a foot and a half, if not two feet behind the board.”
Wells also told Haston that Roach popped a jump that was every bit of 23-feet, but fouled with a toe over the board. For perspective, last year’s state champion, Ryan Curington of Chicago De La Salle, jumped 23’0.75” to earn the title.
“He could win state, and he might not have that chance now,” Haston said.
Like Roach, Toberman also made a big improvement at the first meet of the season, running an 8.5 in the 55 meter hurdles, compared to a 9.2 last season.
After finishing fourth at the sectional and running a 16.7 near the end of the season, Toberman was poised to clock in under 16 seconds this year, which would have put him in contention for a state spot.
“His grandma used to always come and watch him, until she got sick and passed away last year. He lives with his grandpa and his grandpa wants to see him go to state,” Haston said of Toberman. “He’s always been a big supporter of Trevor and for him to get cheated out of the year Trevor has the best chance at going to state is heartbreaking.”
Haston is holding onto hope that his seniors, and the rest of the Toppers, will still get a chance to showcase their talents in Charleston, no matter how small that hope is. Even if that happens, it’s been a memorable year for Haston, even if it is for the wrong reasons.
“I’m about to be 40 and nothing has happened like this ever,” Haston said. “For a school to close for a season? It’s just crazy.”