CPS athletes get chance to compete in playoffs after strike

After all the back and forth with the Chicago Public Schools teacher strike and the challenges on the Illinois High School Athletic Association, CPS athletes got their chance to compete Saturday in both cross country and football state playoffs.

The year ended on a high note for students, especially for three from Jones College Prep and one from Taft. These four have an even bigger reason for being grateful for the “Hail Mary” emergency injunction that was filed Friday.

In the end, one CPS female cross country runner advances to state while other players cheered her on.

“I’m super syked that I was able to run today,” said Sydney Partyka, Taft High School senior.

This moment would not have been possible were it not for the Jones College Prep cross country team and their parents.

“This is a really good experience and we’re all super thankful that we could get out here,” said Aidan Lorenz, Jones College Prep junior.

Jones students initiated court proceedings against the IHSA and CPS to allow all CPS students to compete in the 3A Sectionals in Roselle, despite the teachers’ strike. Word spread quickly Friday evening after a judge ruled in their favor.  

“I was downstairs. My wife Amy was upstairs and she started screaming, ‘They’re gonna go, they’re gonna go!” said Shannon Archer, father of a Lane Tech High School junior.

Following the 3A Sectionals in Roselle, seven male athletes move on to the state meet including Anthony Maida, Jones; Ryan Desantis, Jones; Aaron Hou, Jones; Nelson Gates, Amundsen; Zach Rose, Payton; Tony Delira, Alcott Prep; and Miguel Cordova, Solorio.

“I saw the team for the first time in over two weeks and it was a pretty emotional day and I didn’t really know what to say to them. I still don’t know what to say to them,” said Andrew Adelmann, Jones College Prep Boys Cross Country Coach.

It was especially tough after the IHSA granted CPS football players a waiver. Simeon met Lakes in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs today and Mayor Lightfoot was at the game for Simeon’s big win.

“I’m a little tired, but it was well worth the fight,” said Kevin Sterling, attorney who represented cross country students.

Kevin Sterling saw these students go through, what he called, an emotional roller coaster. Now that it’s over…

“I think CPS, CTU, the IHSA and those adults that are in control of these kids’ lives, they need to figure out a way to do this a little bit better.  I think while everybody is saying they’re doing it for the kids, it felt like there was a lot of people doing it for themselves,” said Sterling.

The cross country state meet is next weekend in Peoria.