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Local

Weather creates headaches for local teams

Scheduling a concern for athletic directors

The recent weather and wet conditions, such as on the Morris tennis courts, has causeed a vast majority of athletic contests to be cancelled this week.
The recent weather and wet conditions, such as on the Morris tennis courts, has causeed a vast majority of athletic contests to be cancelled this week.

It's an annual rite of spring.

The weather jumps into the high school sports season and puts it on hold for a couple of days. It's somehing that is expected early in the season, when mid-March weather can still seem like winter. When it happens in late April, though, things get a little tougher on coaches and athletic directors.

"The most difficult thing right now is to try and coordinate with the other schools," Morris athletic director Jeff Johnson said about the run of cancellations his teams have had Monday and Tuesday. "The later in the season you get, you start running out of dates that both teams have available. Early in the season, you tend to have non-conference games scheduled, so those, if you can't find a date to make them up, so be it.

"Now, though, we are in the conference season and we have to get these games rescheduled, so there is a lot of back and forth going on between schools to see what dates are open.We are probably going to have to some back-to-back, Friday-Saturday games for some of our teams, which isn't ideal, but we have to do what we have to do."

Johnson noted that just on Monday and Tuesday, Morris had to cancel two baseball games, two softball games, two girls soccer games, a track meet and a tennis match.

One thing that does help Morris and many other schools as far as the rescheduling goes is the fact that they have a tarp to cover the field.

"The tarp definitely helps," Johnson said. "The concern now is that we still worry about the outfield. If we have standing water out there, then we obviously can't play. But, having the tarp cover the infield and not having to worry about the infield is a big help for us."

Coal City athletic director Dan Hutchings was a little more philisophical.

"Everyone is in the same boat right now," he said. "We just have to let Mother Nature run her course. We've had four inches of rain here since Saturday, so we are starting to plan out a couple of days ahead and see what we have.

"We were actually very fortunate Monday night. Brother Rice had the field in Crestwood, but didn't have an opponent and they sent out an e-mail. Our baseball coach, Greg Wills, was on the e-mail list and answered that we would be willing to go up there and play them, so we got a game in this week.

"But, it's been a pain for everyone involved in every sport. It's spring, though, and you know you are probably going to run into something like this."

Morris softball coach Jennifer Bamonte was prepared for a busy week, but that has been drastically changed.

"We were supposed to have road games at Geneseo, Sycamore and Sterling," she said. "Those are all long trips, and everything was prepared, like when the girls were going to have to miss school, what assignments they had to make up, stuff like that. We had to alter that, and now we are going to have to bump non-conference games later in order to make up these conference games.

"For a team like ours, that is in a rebuilding year, we put those non-conference games on the schedule for a reason. They are against teams that we felt we would be more competitive against, and now we have to play some of top teams in the conference instead.

"One of the good things is that we have been able to get in a few good days of practice, which we really needed. We practiced before school Tuesday so we could use the fieldhouse and see some live pitching. We don't want to get too much out of our routine. Our practices have been good and we have gotten some good work in, but nothing beats being outside and playing."

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