Weather wreaks havoc with spring sports schedule

Todd ThorsonStaff

Mother Nature has been less than cooperative with this year’s spring sports teams, causing cancellations of meets and creating plenty of practice time problems.

The varsity track teams have yet to compete as of Monday (April 11), causing the most headache for our local tracksters. The golf teams too have had to deal with less than ideal practice days. They have yet to have any meets postponed or cancelled, but still have been dealing with windy and cold conditions at River Bend Golf Course during their respective practice times. The first varsity golf meet of the season was scheduled to take place Monday (April 11) at Clarion-Goldfield, with three other meets also scheduled this week as well. Hopefully the weather holds true and conditions improve, as warmer temperatures and sunshine are in the forecast.

“The weather has been less than ideal to start the season,” said boys’ golf coach Tyler Frederiksen, “but I keep telling them when the meets start to come up, this is the kind of weather we will be playing in.”

The J.V. boys did manage to get in one meet already, competing at Nevada last Tuesday (see accompanying story).

“We have had practice outside all but one day, when I cancelled it, but we have been out in the elements trying to get better in these conditions,” continued Frederiksen.”It’s always better when you are playing and competing against someone other than your own team.”

The Roland-Story golf boys were to accompany the girls’ team to Clarion-Goldfield on Monday (April 11).

For Larry Ammerman’s girls’ golf team, all they’ve been able to do is continue to practice. With 20 girls out this season, the squad will be led by four-year seniors Jaeda Pitman and Brooke Ehrenberg. For them and their teammates, they were fortunate to at least get out on the course regularly earlier this season.

“However, with the windy and rainy conditions (as of late) it has been difficult to focus on improving our game,” said Jaeda and Brooke. “These first couple of weeks have been a good time for team bonding, as we have had to come up with creative ways to golf in spite of the weather conditions.”

The Norsemen girls’ golf team were scheduled to take part in a six-team co-ed meet at BCLUW on Tuesday (April 12), followed by a J.V./Varsity meet at Ogden on Friday (April1 15).

Coach Frederiksen says his boys will only get better by playing in less than ideal conditions: “We have some guys who are really playing great golf right now (despite the elements), and who have improved dramatically from last year. Playing every day in these conditions will only help them when we get a great day with minimal wind.”

The track season, especially, has had the most difficulty staying on schedule. Already four meets have been cancelled — three boys and four girls meets — including the Roland-Story Quadrangular opener on April 1. Two meets at Gilbert last week and a girls meet at Ballard on Friday (April 8) were all cancelled.

“Weather has been our biggest issue for the start of our first varsity meet,” said girls head coach Natalie Whipple. “The girls have been doing a great job putting up with practice and giving their best effort to compete at their potential for when the first meet occurs.”

No make up dates have been announced for the lost meets, so it is more than likely that these meets have been entirely wiped off the calendar. Only a J.V. boys and girls meet has been held, last Monday at Ames (see accompanying story).

For Norsemen boys’ head track coach Brian Petersen, it has been frustrating, but “there’s not much we can do about the weather,” he said. The Norse boys have had difficulty getting in the proper condition without running in any meets.

“The kids have done the best they can under these circumstances, because it can be difficult to focus when we have had so many practices,” added Petersen.

All totaled, the varsity boys have had 27 practices without competing in a single meet. They have even conducted some tougher workouts, where they have tried to compete against each other. But it still has been difficult to simulate true competitive meet situations.

According to Petersen, none of the meets will be rescheduled, but he did say there’s a possibility the boys and girls might be able to jump on board at some other meets in the area. The girls’ track team was able to do just that, with a last minute addition at a meet held at Carroll.

With the inclement weather causing so many problems, it is the hope that the coming week will be much better. This Thursday (tomorrow) is the final day to qualify for the Drake Relays, and according to assistant varsity boys’ coach Mark Billerbeck, one or two R-S events could qualify if given the chance.

“It has been very frustrating,” said Billerbeck, “not only for the guys, but also the coaches. The cold and wind have been brutal. I remember meets once in a while being called, but this is the longest stretch I have ever seen.”

However, as the Norse boys and girls continue to train and practice, it all comes down to basically building toward the last three meets of the season — the conference, district and state meets.

“If we win some of the early meets, great, but we use those early meets to get a good look at a lot of different kids, in many different events, so when we get to the end we are able to put together our best possible line up, so losing these early meets really hurts,” explained Billerbeck.

After last Thursday’s meet at Gilbert was cancelled early in the day, the coaches gave the boys’ track team the night off. They came back Friday eager and ready to practice, and looked forward to Monday’s (April 11) meet at Gowrie.

Despite not competing at the varsity level as of this writing, the district assignments came out last week. The Norsemen track teams will be traveling to Grundy Center, and will run up against strong teams such as Dike-New Hartford, Denver and Aplington-Parkersburg.

The forecast for this week looks much more promising, as it looks like the track teams as well as the golf teams will finally get to enjoy a full week of competition.

“We have a great group of athletes that are committed to giving their best,” added Billerbeck. “The guys are anxious to run and they want to compete, they just want a chance to show what they can do.”

Look for a full sports section (finally) in next week’s Herald, as we hope the weather holds true.

“I hate to jinx it, but this week’s weather does look a lot better,” concluded Billerbeck, as he looked forward to finally starting the season on a good note.