The wrath of spring 2011

Spring sports schedules are normally difficult to coordinate, but the recent rainy, cold weather has caused many headaches for staff in high school athletic offices.

Fans wondering how their favorite prep teams are doing for the season may have a hard time finding results due to the multiple game delays and date changes.

The 2011 season has been hampered with rain, snow, sleet and wind, sometimes all within the course of one particular event.

Ball fields that are most vulnerable to conditions have had no chance for use due to the lousy, wet, weather.

If fields don't have good drainage, games are subject to cancellations, time and location changes, and sometimes all-out rescheduling.

In addition to the rainy spring weather, fields were flooded due to melting snow from the winter, and a lot of it.

Cities had to pile up the snow from several blizzards somewhere, and in North St. Paul that meant the space between the McKnight softball fields and the Ralph Kuenkel baseball field.

Drainage in the area ended up in the left field at Ralph Kuenkel.

The melt has created so much of a problem that the North High baseball nine has yet to play a game on their "home" field.

And, any additional water has nowhere else to go but onto the ball field.

These problems are not unique to North St. Paul. The long winter and dismal spring are testing the limits of prep coaches and teams throughout the St. Paul suburbs.

A quick glance at just three area high schools - Hill-Murray, North and Tartan - brought about some startling statistics.

Among those three schools there have been, so far, about 75 cancellations, time or venue changes, and/or rescheduled events this season.

The biggest headache is rescheduling a game, which has happened in a majority of those cases with local sporting events.

Think about what that entails: Telephone calls to the other schools; finding a mutually agreeable date; arranging for changes in bus transportation; and updating the schedules on websites. By the time all that is done, sometimes the game date has to be changed - again!

Parents and the local media also need up-to-date schedules and certainly don't want to miss their child's game or a chance to cover it.

To think the activities director at each school bears this responsibility, with support staff to help, is daunting.

For each activities director there is an assistant in the department: Pat Soutor at Hill-Murray; Lori McNamara at North; and Debby Dellis at Tartan.

Last week, those staff were honored on "Secretary's Day."

Secretaries field calls to update community members, media and parents on the latest happenings at their respective schools. Even with the spring sports schedule debacle, the dedicated staff always take the time necessary when calls come in or visitors stop at their office. They deserve recognition for their work not just for a day, but for the whole year, and a break at that. Even though Secretary's Day has passed, it's never a bad time to give them a pat on the back and to say "thank you."

And check the Classic Suburban Conference website, www.classicsuburban.org, for information on schedule changes. It is a helpful resource and will take just a bit of the burden off local school staff.

QUICK TAKEOFFS
The new girls' basketball coach at NORTH will be EAGAN graduate ANDY JACOBSON. He is a former 1AAA and 4AAAA Assistant Coach of the Year and is currently an assistant coach of the NORTH softball nine . . . It was typical of him. In his acceptance speech as Class AA MINNESOTA ATHLETIC DIRECTOR of the YEAR, March 31 in ST. CLOUD, former TARTAN AD, LEE ALGER heaped praise on those around him who made it possible. Everyone in attendance knew it was ALGER who made it happen! One last time - Congratulations LEE ALGER ! . . . Ace NORTH softball outfielder CASSIE BERTELSEN - twice named to the Class AAA State All-Tournament Team - recently signed a letter of intent to ply her talents next season with the CONCORDIA University (ST. PAUL) softball nine . . . TARTAN seniors DREW and LUKE PREINER - both are two-time All-State Honorable Mention - will take their combined basketball skills to play for JAMESTOWN (ND) Jimmies next season. Good luck LUKE and DREW ! ! . . . A CENTRAL Division Ski Jumping reunion and golf tournament will be held May 21 at the WILD RIDGE Golf Club in EAU CLAIRE, WIS. For more information contact BRYAN SANDERS, at bryansanders@olympian.org. . . Hey RUTH, you hang in there !

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