Jon Dinan | Democrat
Snow-covered fields have prevented local scholastic sports teams from practicing outdoors. While indoor practices suffice for the state requirement, athletic directors concede they severely hamper proper preparation and training.
It’s snow go for local teams
Story by Jon Dinan
SULLIVAN COUNTY March 22, 2013 Spring sports pre-seasons have been virtually non existant for most high school teams in Sullivan County due to the late season snow squalls that have become the recent trend.
Though New York State high school rules don’t require teams to have any set number of outdoor practices, field, course, and track conditions have already affected game scheduling and teams’ ability to effectively prepare for their upcoming seasons.
“Anytime you’re inside it has adverse effects on a team that should be practicing outside,” said Sullivan West athletic director Dave Franskevicz, who indicated that none of his spring sports teams except for track have yet practiced outside.
“Coaches run out of drills and the players lose interest fast,” he added.
Franskevicz has already moved the Bulldog’s baseball and softball opening days back more than two weeks. They were supposed to play their first games beginning April 2.
Teams also have spring break to contend with starting next week.
“Families are going away, and they’re not going to change their plans for practices, so we’re really in a bind,” said Franskevicz.
In baseball, teams must hold at least 15 practices and individuals must attend at least eight to be eligible for official game competition. In softball, teams must hold eight practices and individuals must attend six. For track teams, the rule is a minimum 10 practices and individuals must attend all 10.
An informal survey of local teams revealed that no baseball, softball or golf teams have yet had an outdoor practice.
The Roscoe/Downsville teams face a unique challenge because Roscoe’s spring break will last through next week, and Downsville’s, the week after.
“The biggest effect has been on our golf team,” said Roscoe athletic director Fred Ahart. “In golf, it’s reasonable to expect that teams have played on a course before their first match. Our local courses will be nowhere near ready in time, so we have their first match back a full week and they could be moved back further yet.”
The Roscoe Gglf team has not held a practice outdoors yet this season. In fact, according to Ahart, the only team that has is track, and they’ve only had one. Ahart is optimistic however, because he’s seen worse in his more-than 40 years at Roscoe.
“I can remember years where we would get three feet of snow at a time in March, and teams’ first games would be their first time playing outside,” Ahart revealed.
“We hope to get outside sometime within the next two weeks,” he added.
The first scheduled spring competitions for local schools are March 30 (Eldred track at Clarkstown South Invitational) and April 1 (Monticello at Middletown baseball and Washingtonville at Monticello softball). At this time, these games are still on, though that could change. Check the Democrat Sports Calendar for up-to-date schedules.