Rocky Hulne: Packers making good on a strange fall season

Published 6:50 am Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

So far, so good.

The Packer boys soccer team and girls swimming and diving team are set to finish up their seasons this week as Austin will compete in the Section 1A boys soccer title game in Saint Charles tonight and the swim team will host a portion of the Section 1A girls swimming and diving meet in Bud Higgins Pool Friday.

First of all, it’s a great accomplishment that Austin has made it this far without having to miss any games due to a COVID-19 outbreak. When I was working on previews before the season, most coaches were a little skeptical on how long the season would last. There was also no certainty of any type of postseason being held.

Email newsletter signup

While having a state tournament would be ideal, the Packers are settling for a shortened postseason and that’s not a bad trade-off, considering nobody was allowed to compete just five months ago.

With the fall season being split into two parts, I’ve had the rare opportunity to get to more swimming and diving meets and tennis matches this year and it’s been a lot of fun. Both teams are filled with upbeat athletes who are always driving to get better.

I’ve seen friendships form and improvements made in the pool and on the tennis courts, where the Packers put together their best season in a decade.

As for the boys soccer team, they are as good as ever. Seniors Andres Garcia, Henry Tolbert and Casey Berg are three of the most dynamically talented, hyper competitive, humble leaders that the Packers have ever seen in any sport.

While Tolbert has looked like a bullet train ripping through defenses, Garcia has made scoring 31 goals in less than 15 games look almost effortless at times as he has perfected a line drive shot that is highly effective from anywhere inside of 25 yards. While he hasn’t faced a lot of shots, Berg has been the field general for the Packers and his leadership skills are second to none.

I hope the swimmers and soccer players embrace their final week of the season and I hope the Packer football and volleyball teams can also enjoy the time they have left.