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Schedules shuffled as a result of snowfall

February 24, 2003|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

Like the rest of his colleagues, Williamsport athletic director Eric Michael spent the past week scrambling.

Since last weekend's snow storm, Michael has been mixing and matching dates to reschedule basketball games. Michael's problem? There was one week left before state playoffs begin Friday.

"Last Sunday, I was on the phone figuring we wouldn't have school Monday, and I had things set up for the middle of the week," Michael said. "From Wednesday on, I was on the phone daily."

Once the skies opened last Sunday, schedules became unsettled. School officials played the waiting game to see when school would open again. Michael and other ADs became puppets on strings until prep athletics returned to a sense of normalcy Saturday.

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"I thought we'd be back in sooner, but there's a lot of factors going into cancelling school," Michael said. "Where I live, there was one lane to get through, and you've got to look at a bus getting through. Plus, at a bus stop, there's nowhere for the kids to wait. If you let kids stand out there, it's an accident waiting to happen.

"It's better to have all the kids safe than messing with an accident."

Unlike Michael, Williamsport boys basketball coach Deron Crawford found himself with a lot of free time on his hands.

After a 53-45 loss to Brunswick on Feb. 13, school closings postponed the Wildcats' games against Francis Scott Key and Boonsboro. Crawford - like almost all of Washington County's basketball coaches - had plenty of time to organize practices, but couldn't conduct them since gyms were closed. Washington County prohibits teams using school gyms for practices or games when schools are closed. Some exceptions were made Friday.

Now, the Wildcats will be on game overload, playing five of them in seven days. Such a grueling schedule has Crawford worried about the stamina of his players heading into the playoffs.

"We're gonna play five times in a week," Crawford said. "There's nothing we can do about it. A lot of schools are in the same boat that we are, so we're gonna do our best.

"As a coach, you don't like to lose, but at the same time we've got to be thinking of making a conscious effort to rest guys and give them a break so they have something in the tank for Friday."

Friday is the day the Wildcats will likely play their Class 1A West first-round game. That game comes after Williamsport plays Middletown (Monday), FSK (Tuesday) and South Hagerstown (Wednesday). The Knights and Rebels are two of the faster teams in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League.

"We were forced into it, and we had a couple games that were rescheduled earlier in the year that we had no place to put," Michael said. "With the snow storm coming, we filled up real quick with FSK, and were fortunate Boonsboro had its schedule clear for (Saturday) like we did. ... It's going to be a busy week."

Martinsburg boys coach Dave Rogers and athletc director Steve Shirley have had to reschedule games against Morgantown, Keyser and Southern Garrett.

"Our AD has been on the phone an awful lot, and I know, cause I've been with him," Rogers said. "We've had to call teams and ask if they could move back or forward a day to make things work, and everybody's been so gracious."

The Bulldogs, unlike teams in Maryland, have an extra week in which to fit the games, thanks in part to a bye in their W.Va. sectional tournament.

"We've got it set to make them all up," Rogers said. "Had we not gotten the bye in the first round of sectionals, we wouldn't be able to make them all up."

The Maryland indoor track championships twice became a casualty of the storm. The meet , originally scheduled for last Monday, was rescheduled to Wednesday, then rescheduled again for this Monday.

Smithsburg coach Ray Shriver said the inability to hold team practices for most of the past week probably won't make much of a difference.

"Those that made the state meet by this time are dedicated enough to keep themselves ready," Shriver said. "I've called a couple kids, and usually when I call they're out running or skiing. They're doing something.

"A couple kids kept in contact via e-mail, and a lot of them went skiing or snowboarding, and that's fun. I worry about them getting hurt, but what am I going to do? They're kids, too."

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