Rain, rain, go away: weather reorganizes spring schedules
It looks like it may finally be spring. Unfortunately, for the spring sports teams, it’s arriving a little late.
This season’s weather has wreaked havoc on the athletic schedules for teams across Iowa, including those in Henry County.
It’s created wet soccer fields and soggy golf courses. Temperatures dipping below freezing kept runners off the track and tennis players at home. It’s been difficult to find a warm enough place to practice and days that are nice enough to compete.
Sometimes, the players just brave the bitter cold, but many times, events have been postponed — unfortunately, that’s not really an option any more.
“The bad thing is, if we have any more (events on cold or rainy days) they’ll be cancelled, because we don’t have any days left (open),” Mt. Pleasant Activities Director Bob Jensen said. “But hopefully it stays nice from here on out. We’re less than three weeks away from the start of conference tournaments, sectional and district tournaments.”
A quick glance through emails to the Mt. Pleasant News from Jensen shows that more than 20 athletic events have been postponed or cancelled this spring season — or postponed and then cancelled on the make up date, because it’s still too cold or wet to play.
Still, Jensen’s looking at the bright side — which is tough, considering how cloudy it has been.
“We have it better than up north,” he said. “Emmetsburg has had only one track meet; golf’s had four practices and no meets. And I talked to Iowa City Regina’s AD; they’ve had only one boys’ soccer game. So we’re not doing too bad.”
So far this season, both the boys’ and girls’ track teams are two meets short of a full schedule — not bad, considering those events are the most difficult to make up, because of how many schools are involved.
Wet ground and wind chills below freezing don’t usually set athletes up for their best performances, but the Panthers are determined to do what they can.
“It doesn’t matter what the weather is, we’re there to compete,” said Mt. Pleasant Boys’ Track Coach Scot Lamm after the Denny White Relays on April 11. “But I’m still waiting to run a day when it is nice out.”
And he’s still waiting.
Mt. Pleasant boys’ soccer coach Neil Schmitz said that he saw the effects of the weather in his team’s match against conference opponent Washington on Monday. The Panthers got off to a slow start in the contest after practicing only once in the five days before the match.
But overall, the track teams are faring pretty well, sending 13 athletes to the Drake Relays and winning many of their meets so far this season. And both soccer teams remain undefeated.
Mt. Pleasant tennis and golf have also seen success this season — it just may not have been so enjoyable getting there.
“Just like everybody else around the area, (the weather) cut into our practice time, but we have practiced in some pretty tough elements,” Mt. Pleasant Girls’ Golf Coach Jim Kelly said. “As a result, it’s really helped us in the Washington home meet, because the weather was pretty bad and girls played pretty well — they were used to it.”
At IWC, spring sports team have also felt the effects of the weather.
AD and Softball Coach Mike Hampton estimates that 15 softball games were cancelled, including the IWC tournament, the Sammons Classic.
“I learned a long time ago that you control what you can control, and that’s all you can do,” Hampton said. “You just have to keep a smile on your face. But it has been a tough one.”
With such a short season between spring break and finals week, it is difficult to make up cancelled events at IWC.
According to the online schedules, the Tiger baseball team has lost seven games, and golf has competed in just half of the events on its schedule. Only track and field has escaped cancellations.
Other area schools have also struggled in this winter-like spring season. All have lost track and golf meets to the relentlessly cold and rainy weather.
W-MU had to postpone its invitational last week, and the golf team competed while parts of the Twin Lakes Golf Course were under much more water than usual.
New London has lost golf meets, and is still trying to reschedule its track meet at Mt. Pleasant that was supposed to be on Tuesday.
Things haven’t been any easier for the WACO track teams.
“We’ve probably had more (track meets) cancelled and rescheduled than we’ve run on the correct date,” Athletic Director Chad Edeker said. “This is by far the craziest it’s ever been for rescheduling.”
However, it looks like WACO will have a mild afternoon to host the Ekstrand Relays today, which the boys’ and girls’ track teams from W-MU and New London, as well as the girls’ team from Mt. Pleasant, will also be attending.
“It looks like it’s going to be great today,” Edeker said.