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Setbacks From the Snow

The+tennis+courts+were+covered+in+snow+for+the+first+weeks+of+the+season
The tennis courts were covered in snow for the first weeks of the season

The tennis courts were covered in snow for the first weeks of the season

Photo by Libby Boda/SENTRY

Photo by Libby Boda/SENTRY

The tennis courts were covered in snow for the first weeks of the season

Patrick Rita, Sentry Staff Reporter

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Finally, spring sports are upon us.  The only problem is, Mother Nature did not get the memo.  When tryouts for most teams began on February 23, the ground was still covered in snow and temperatures often fell far below freezing.  This has resulted in some drastic measures, such as plow trucks going onto the turf field at Greenbrier Stadium to clear space for soccer and lacrosse tryouts, tennis players shoveling snow off of the courts and baseball players having to use the gymnasium for practice.

Director of Student Activities Michael Kurfield has had his hands full with making accommodations for each team.

“The weather requires almost daily rescheduling and juggling of various teams’ needs.  My goal is to be equitable to all of the different sports,” said Kurfield.

On days where the weather does not cooperate, Kurfield has to facilitate communication between the coaches and players.  Some of the spring sports coaches do not work at Yorktown, so communication can be difficult at times, especially since there are many new coaches this spring.   However, Kurfield says that the new crop of coaches have handled the weather obstacle with ease.

“There has definitely been a learning curve for them [the coaches, in regard to the weather changes], but they have been very flexible,” said Kurfield.

Besides the snow making the playing fields unusable, extremely cold temperatures have also hindered the tryout process.  For the first two weeks of the season, outdoor tryouts and practices have not gone past 7:00 p.m. and were usually limited to 1-1.5 hours.  Normally, spring sports practices go until 9:30 p.m. and usually last about two hours. As a result, teams have fallen behind schedule and the threat of cancelling any preseason games or matches becomes imminent.

Some sports are gifted with being able to utilize indoor or turf facilities.  The lacrosse and soccer teams have at least been able to use the field.  The crew teams have been able to use the erg machines indoors. The baseball and softball teams have been able to take advantage of the new wrestling room-turned-batting cage.  However, despite having these resources, the crew team has to wait for the river to thaw before they get into the boats and the softball team has to wait for the snow to melt and the field to dry before they can even have a real practice.  There’s something to be said about practicing in the same environment in which the games and matches are played in.  So far, lacrosse and soccer have enjoyed that privilege while some of the other sports have not.  Also, the baseball team has gone to practice at Barcroft park, Arlington’s newest high school-sized baseball field.  Meanwhile, the softball team does not have this same luxury and will be forced to wait until their field dries.

Junior rower Alex Oltorik has seen firsthand the kind of impact that the weather has had on the crew team, but, despite the limitations, actually feels that the indoor training could be beneficial.

“I think, if anything, I am improving because the land workouts are a lot harder,” said Oltorik.

On a usual “dry” day for the crew team, practice consists of running around the school and then using the erg machines for about an hour. Oltorik agrees, however, that there is no substitution for training in the water.

“We are definitely not going to be as prepared [as last year]  for the first regatta because we are not going to have that much water time.  It will be a little bit of a time crunch to get used to the transition from land to water,” said Oltorik.

Whether or not the snow has a significant impact on any team’s performance has yet to be seen. The only reason this is true, however, is that not many teams have had the opportunity to perform. The only thing for certain is, the prolonged hindrance that the weather has caused will only make the coming of spring, and spring sports, that much sweeter.

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Setbacks From the Snow