Runner Kimberly Heald and the other members of the Steamboat Springs High School track team warm up inside the old gym Wednesday afternoon. The track team does its best to get outside, but there are times when the weather forces the runners and throwers to work out inside the school.

Photo by John F. Russell

Runner Kimberly Heald and the other members of the Steamboat Springs High School track team warm up inside the old gym Wednesday afternoon. The track team does its best to get outside, but there are times when the weather forces the runners and throwers to work out inside the school.

Storms delay local sports

High school teams deal with weather

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Steamboat Springs thrower Drew Dummit works out inside the gym at the high school Wednesday afternoon. The recent snowstorms have thrilled skiers in the area, but the wet weather has forced many of the spring sports back inside for practice.

Schedule updates

Baseball - Game scheduled for Wednesday at Eagle Valley has been postponed until April 9. The team still is scheduled to play at 11 a.m. Saturday at Palisade.

Boys lacrosse - Game scheduled for Monday at Battle Mountain was postponed. Makeup date hasn't been rescheduled. The team is supposed to play at 4 p.m. Friday at home against Grand Junction and at 3 p.m. Saturday at home against Durango. Those games are tentative.

Girls soccer - Scheduled game at Eagle Valley today is up in the air. A noon game Saturday at home against Battle Mountain still is scheduled but depending on weather.

Tennis - The team plays at 4 p.m. Friday at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs against Vail Mountain. It then plays at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at home against Denver East. The indoor facility means matches shouldn't be affected.

Track - All three area track and field teams are supposed to compete at Eagle Valley on Saturday. As of Wednesday, the track meet still was on, but a weather-related decision could come later this week.

— Skiers and riders enjoyed thigh-deep, if not chest-deep, snow Wednesday at Steamboat Ski Area.

Although the recent storms and snowfall left some with smiles, they have frustrated high school coaches and athletes around Routt County.

After all, this is supposed to be the spring sports season.

"It makes having a good practice hard," said Hayden track and field coach Barbara Manzanares. "Monday was so bitterly cold. We did go outside, but it makes it hard to have a really productive practice."

But that's part of spring sports on the Western Slope. Steamboat, Hayden and Soroco aren't the only high schools dealing with the inclement weather. Games and practices in areas such as Vail, Eagle Valley, Aspen and Summit all have been postponed this week. Even Front Range schools were canceling games after bouts with weather.

The weather affects each team differently. For the track teams, it means less time outside, less time to work on handoffs and less time for specialty events. But for some coaches, this year's winter and spring seasons are proving to be much easier compared to last year's record-setting winter that made it tough to get outside at all.

"The kids are pretty tough around here," Soroco track coach David Bruner said. "It's not like they like going out, but they get it done. You have to have kids willing to do that. Our kids here on the slope are pretty tough and are willing to go out and do the work."

The other sports - baseball, tennis, lacrosse and soccer - are all facing similar problems. With its postponement of Wednesday's game against Eagle Valley, the Steamboat baseball team could find itself playing five games in five days next week. When the winter extends, the extra work falls on the arms of pitchers, Steamboat manager Dave Roy said.

Roy, who likely will soon have to go deeper into his rotation, said baseball in this region means teams have to be careful to not overwork a pitcher.

"It's a question of how deep are you with your pitching staff and how good are you," Roy said. "Most teams put two or maybe three good pitchers out there. When you have three or four games in a week, you can't put pressure on those arms because they are still young people. You don't want to face the chance of damaging an arm."

Although the tennis team has the indoor comforts of the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs, the lacrosse and soccer teams are at nature's beckoning. The lacrosse team already had a game postponed Tuesday because of bad weather, and the forecast for the weekend slate of games doesn't look much better.

Steamboat girls soccer coach Rob Bohlmann, who probably knows the feeling better than any coach around, said this time of year, teams have to make the best out of a tough situation.

"Other than getting out of normal rhythm of playing twice a week, you just got to adjust," Bohlmann said. "The key to being successful is to adjust and the ability to adapt."

- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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