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Weather altering athletic schedules

February 04, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

Once again, Mother Nature got the best of what was supposed to be a full schedule of high school sports events Tuesday.

Another blast of snow and ice Tuesday morning led to the closing of all area schools and, as a result, the postponement of at least 31 basketball games.

Add that to the several days of school missed across the area last week, and nearly every coach and athletic director is scrambling to reschedule contests and rework practices.

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"It's something you don't have any control over and we'll try to make the best of it," North Hagerstown boys basketball coach Tim McNamee said. "We're not alone, everybody's in the same boat."

Not every team is in as difficult a spot as the Hubs. With little more than three weeks left before the state basketball playoffs begin Feb. 27, North has nine MVAL Antietam games to play, including three makeups.

"You just have to come out ready to play and take them one at a time, see what you can get and don't worry about what you don't have control over," McNamee said. "The only thing you can be concerned about is what you're doing to get ready. We'll try to get the intensity up and hopefully they'll be hungry."

Surprisingly, the recent wintry conditions may have helped Hancock's girls basketball team in its run toward the playoffs.

Had everything gone according to schedule, the Panthers would have five games remaining, and only one between Feb. 12 and Feb. 22. Now, Hancock will play at least seven games and coach Rocky Wills thinks the activity will help.

"They'd rather play games than practice anyway, that's for sure," Wills said. "If you practice and practice and practice, kids start to lose focus and it's hard to tell what will happen."

Nonetheless, the lack of practice time is a concern for all area coaches, including Wills.

"I know last week we had the first three days off and then we had two practices and a game Saturday, and it showed we'd been off because we were a little sluggish," Wills said. "If we miss so many days in a row, we try to get a little more conditioning in so we can get that going again. If you're off a few days, it takes a little bit to get that back."

Basketball players and coaches aren't the only ones affected by the inactivity. Area wrestlers have spent an unusual amount of time off the mats, and getting back into the swing of things isn't always easy.

"What I always try to do the first day back after a period off is no live wresting," Hubs wrestling coach Greg Slick said. "We're drilling moves and working on timing, and I don't want to put a kid in position to wrench a shoulder or get a knee twisted. I want to give the kids a chance to get their timing back."

The Hubs - who have yet to reschedule their dual meet with rival South Hagerstown - will wrestle three times in the next four days, but the situation is different from basketball because most of the wrestlers are used to multiple matches over one or two days thanks to tri-meets, quad-meets and tournaments.

"We have 6-minute bouts as opposed to 32 minutes in basketball, and there's a little difference in the amount of energy spent," Slick said. "The recovery time for a wrestler's probably quicker, too."

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