For the first time in more than 14 months, the Illinois High School Association will be handing out state hardware.
COVID restrictions resulted in spring sports being canceled entirely last year. Fall sports finished at the sectional level last year. Abbreviated winter sports slates for basketball and an early spring sports schedule featuring football, girls volleyball and boys soccer playing in the spring instead of fall did not have postseason competition.
With the state reopening, IHSA sports like baseball, softball, girls soccer, boys tennis and track have the chance to end their seasons vying for state hardware in June.
One change is that most regional and sectional contests will be played at the site of the higher seed, with neutral-site games only at the supersectional and state levels.
The baseball postseasons begins next week with regional play.
In Class 1A, Valmeyer (9-10) competes in Regional A under Sectional 8 will play at New Athens (8-6) on Friday, June 4. The winner will play Monday, June 7 for a regional title. Steeleville is the top seed in this regional.
Also in Class 1A, Dupo (2-10) hosts Bunker Hill in Regional B under Sectional 7 on Wednesday, June 2. With a win, the Tigers would take on Okawville on Friday, June 4.
In Class 2A, Gibault (9-11) and Columbia (15-9) are both in Regional D under Sectional 7. The Hawks host Wood River at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 2. With a win, Gibault would play at Columbia at 4 p.m. Friday, June 4. The Eagles edged the Hawks, 9-6, on May 5. The regional final takes place Monday, June 7.
In Class 3A, Waterloo (6-18) plays in Regional B under Sectional 8 and will play at Marion at 4:30 p.m. Friday, June 4. With a win, the Bulldogs would play the winner of Carbondale/Marion on Monday, June 7.
The IHSA state baseball finals are June 17 for Class 1A and Class 3A and June 18 for Class 2A. Class 1A and 2A are played at Illinois State University in Bloomington. Class 3A is played in Schaumburg.
The softball postseason also begins next week with regional play.
In Class 1A, Gibault (0-7) plays in Regional C under Sectional 7 and will host Metro East Lutheran at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 2.
Also in Class 1A, Valmeyer (10-4) hosts Dupo (1-11) in Regional D under Sectional 7 at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 2. The winner plays the winner of Bunker Hill/Okawville on Thursday, June 3 for the regional title.
In Class 2A, Columbia (14-9) hosts Flora at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, June 3. With a win, the Eagles play Friday, June 4 in the regional final. Other teams in this regional are Althoff, Fairfield and Nashville.
In Class 3A, Waterloo (14-8) hosts Olney at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 2 in Regional D under Sectional 8. The regional final is Thursday, June 3. Other teams in this regional are Centralia and Mt. Vernon.
The IHSA state softball finals are June 16-17 in Peoria.
The girls soccer postseason begins next week with sectional play.
In Class 1A, Gibault (5-9-2) and Columbia (9-6) are both in the Pinckneyville Sectional along with Althoff, Breese Central, Mater Dei, Freeburg, Salem, Anna-Jonesboro, Mt. Carmel, Harrisburg, Pinckneyville, Murphysboro and Metropolis.
Gibault plays at Breese Central on Tuesday, June 1. The teams split their two matches this season. Columbia hosts Salem at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 2. With wins, the teams would next play on Friday, June 4. Columbia hosts the supersectional on June 15.
In Class 2A, Waterloo (11-6-2) hosts a sectional and will play the winner of Centralia/Carterville on Friday, June 4. Other teams in this sectional are Triad, Highland, Charleston, Civic Memorial, Taylorville, Mascoutah, Jerseyville, Mattoon, Mt. Vernon, Marion, Olney and Carbondale. The Bulldogs lost twice to undefeated Triad this season. The supersectional takes place in Urbana on June 15.
For girls track, Dupo and Gibault compete in the Class 1A Althoff Sectional on June 2. Columbia and Waterloo compete in the Class 2A Salem Sectional on June 3. The IHSA state finals take place June 10-12 at Eastern Illinois University.
For boys track, Dupo and Gibault compete in the Class 1A Chester Sectional on June 9. Columbia and Waterloo compete in the Class 2A Mascoutah Sectional on June 9. The IHSA state finals take place June 17-19 at Eastern Illinois University.
For boys tennis, Waterloo competes June 4-5 in the Triad Sectional. Other teams are Triad, Marquette, Althoff, Civic Memorial, Highland, Jerseyville, Mascoutah and Roxana. The IHSA state finals are June 10-12 at Hersey High School near Chicago.