Unsportsmanlike! Weather robs prep teams of half a season

  • Article by: JIM PAULSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 18, 2013 - 10:51 PM

Nearly four weeks after they began practice, many high school teams have yet to take the field for a game, meet, match or round because of the miserable weather.

view larger photos

  

Coon Rapids was set to finally open its high school baseball season Thursday, with star pitcher Logan Shore taking the mound in the weather-protected Metrodome. The 11 p.m. start time owed to the stadium’s huge popularity with high school and college teams escaping what many coaches are calling the worst run of spring weather they’ve ever seen.

But the game against Prior Lake was canceled due to travel problems from Thursday’s snowstorm. Not even a roof can fend off the wintry spring of 2013.

Nearly four weeks after they began practice, many high school teams have yet to take the field for a game, meet, match or round — let alone step outside to practice. What few games have been wedged in have been played in cold, miserable conditions.

Thousands of games have been canceled statewide. Top athletes have missed chances to impress scouts and attract college attention. Seniors see their final seasons slipping away. At many schools, athletes paid hefty activity fees for what has so far been mostly gym time and now the prospect of shorter and fewer games.

As coaches and athletic directors frantically reschedule games into fewer remaining weeks, some teams have had to dig deeper to pay for expensive indoor practice facilities or have made do with such activities as golf putting in classrooms.

Tom Franta, the girls’ track and field coach at Irondale in New Brighton, said his assistant coach Bruce Moore “has been coaching or participating in track for 51 years and he said that he has never seen anything like this.”

For Kara Stuckmayer, this is supposed to be the year she gets noticed. Stuckmayer, who plays third base for Champlin Park and has loads of potential as a power hitter, has high hopes for a senior season that she believes can be a breakout year. If the Rebels ever get the chance to play, that is.

“This being my senior year, I obviously want to play hard and do great,” Stuckmayer said. “This weather has put a little stop to that.’’

St. Louis Park pitcher Ryan Froom, a South Dakota State University recruit, is worried that his final high school season is slipping away. “It’s extremely frustrating,” Froom said. “This isn’t the way you want it to end.”

St. Francis shot put and discus thrower Maggie Ewen, who will compete at Arizona State University next year, has spent much of the spring throwing into a net in the gym. “It’s not the same as outside and it’s taking a toll mentally,” she said.

Shore, one of Minnesota’s top Major League Baseball pitching prospects, said that he has had bullpen sessions with pro scouts watching him and that he is trying to stay positive. “Obviously I’m dying to get outside to playing games,” he said.

Salvaging seasons safely

Athletic directors from conferences across the Twin Cities metro area have met to devise ways to salvage the season once the weather improves. The Missota and the Classic Suburban conferences have mandated doubleheaders for softball and baseball. The Northwest Suburban wiped away half of the league season, reducing the schedule to 10 games.

Those changes might not be enough. Frozen fields still need to dry out. Spring weather, even under more normal circumstances, is unpredictabe. Some coaches worry about playing almost daily games and risking injuries from overuse, most notably to baseball pitchers. “The possibility of injuries increases with a heavier load on our pitchers,” said Brian Wright, coach at Breck in Golden Valley.

This week, the Minnesota State High School League took the unusual step of releasing recommendations for schools to mitigate the effects of the weather. They include scheduling doubleheaders in baseball and softball, shortening golf meets to nine holes and emphasizing Saturday play. The league also suggested that teams play even after they are eliminated in the playoffs and make up games through the final day of the state tournament.

Through it all, practice goes on. Gyms are full as teams vie for space. Teams have sought out domes and indoor facilities, which come with a price tag not all are happy to pay.

Tim Roche, who coaches boys lacrosse at Eastview in Apple Valley, lamented paying $1,400 for a pair of two-hour training sessions at local domes. ““It makes me sick to spend that money on field time, but we just have no choice,” Roche said.

For every top-level athlete who hopes to compete after high school, there are scores of players on junior varsity teams and below who are the biggest concern for many coaches. With varsity teams using every possible makeup day, athletic departments are worried that there will be no time for younger players.

  • related content

  • Chart: Coaches' thoughts on the spring that wasn't

    Thursday April 18, 2013

    THIS WINTRY SPRINGThe Spring of 2013 is playing out like the classic Saturday Night Live skit “The Thing That Wouldn’t...

  • The Minneapolis lacrosse team listened to coaches Wednesday as they braved a cold, rainy outdoor game.

  • Minneapolis Lacrosse’s Eden Rosenbloom slipped between Columbia Heights’ Salena Abram, left, and Mariah Hanson, on a miserable night. See more photos at startribune.com/galleries.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 4
Houston 1 Top 9th Inning
Cleveland 1
San Francisco 6 Bottom 8th Inning
Washington 2
St. Louis 4 Bottom 8th Inning
Philadelphia 5
Chicago WSox 3 Bottom 7th Inning
NY Yankees 3
Tampa Bay 8 Bottom 9th Inning
Toronto 0
Atlanta 1 Bottom 8th Inning
Cincinnati 0
Seattle 0 Top 7th Inning
Boston 3
Kansas City 4 Top 6th Inning
Texas 1
Pittsburgh 6 Bottom 5th Inning
Milwaukee 2
Detroit 1 Top 5th Inning
Minnesota 6
Miami 4 Top 4th Inning
Colorado 2
San Diego 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Arizona 0
LA Angels - H. Santiago 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
NY Mets - J. Niese 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - D. Haren
Carolina 0 4th Qtr 12:05
New England 23
NY Giants 14 3rd Qtr 5:59
NY Jets 17
Jacksonville 12 3rd Qtr 3:20
Detroit 7
Oakland 7 2nd Qtr 0:20
Green Bay 22
Chicago 9:00 PM
Seattle
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Real Salt Lake 0 1st Half 25:00
FC Dallas 0
Montreal 3 0:59
Winnipeg 1
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Chicago 80 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Phoenix

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How closely will you follow the Lynx in the WNBA playoffs?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close