Weather limits high school sports options

As every day that passes with snow heaped on athletic fields, tracks and tennis courts around Wisconsin, scheduling options for spring sports become more and more limited.
This is the week we are beginning to see a significant number of games being postponed due to the unplayable conditions. In the Middle Border Conference, for example, there are 13 varsity games scheduled between baseball, softball and soccer this Thursday. It’s highly unlikely that any of those games will be played.
And it isn’t until next week that the schedules really kick into high gear. There are days in the upcoming weeks when there are 15 or more outdoor events scheduled.
The weather is working coaches and athletic directors into a corner. There are a limited number of days that games can be played, because the WIAA has its tournament dates set. With every day that the snow makes fields unplayable, it further closes the window on the possibility of playing full schedules.
What are the alternatives? Middle Border Conference athletic directors are voting this week on whether to cut the baseball, softball and soccer seasons in half.
Under this plan, they would be using the second half of the schedule for conference games. If any of the first half games can be played, they would count as non-conference games.
There has been limited resistance to this plan by some coaches, but most are being realistic. Unless a heat wave sweeps through the area, it could be weeks before fields are ready for use. The week of April 15 is becoming a popular guess, or more likely a hope, for the target of when all fields will be ready for use.
Geography plays into the situation too. A conference like the Middle Border has schools that are 75 miles north of the southernmost schools, when you consider the distance from Amery or Osceola to Durand or Ellsworth. That distance can make a difference in snow cover and how quickly fields can be ready. Full access to fields for an entire conference has to be taken into consideration when these decisions are made. It’s even more drastic for the MBC soccer conference, which brings in schools like Hayward, Superior, Barron and Spooner.

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