Effects of blizzard still felt at Farmer’s Korner | SummitDaily.com

Effects of blizzard still felt at Farmer’s Korner

FARMER’S KORNER – The feet of powder are long since tracked out, and Interstate 70 has been open without incident for more than a week. It seems the only thing still affected by last week’s blizzard is Summit High School athletics.

The Tigers count on some weather-related issues every spring, but what they have been dealing with since March 18 is unprecedented at least in the eight-year tenure of athletic director Gretchen Nies and probably for much longer than that.

Between trying to reschedule the 14 total games lost by all five spring sports and still wondering about the probability of playing the several scheduled contests leading up to the April 4 start of spring break, the Tigers have had an interesting 12 days. Here are some of the story lines:

– Without the reward of games and meets, maintaining focus at practice has been a feat of mental clarity.

“We’re still running our practices and just kind of working as hard as we can, even without the competition,” said senior track and field captain Jessie Glynn. “We’ve only had two meets to look at our times on a real track with real competition. The times from the first two meets … people improved so much. But you can’t really tell improvement when you’re running on the carpet.”

Summit’s coaches have had to be creative to keep things fresh and upbeat at practice.

Boys swimming coach Graig Fischer called for normal meet preparation when Evergreen called off Thursday evening’s meet earlier that day. Girls soccer coach Charlie Krupanszky shortened one practice and called another off.

“We tried to mix it up in practice,” Krupanszky said. “And the girls have handled it pretty well.”

The soccer team was the first to return to action when it lost to Evergreen in Lakewood on Friday.

– With so many contests to reschedule, and no chance to do it during vacation, many of the nonleague games will fall by the wayside. But some league games were missed last week as well, and rescheduling them will be the top priority. The Tigers will likely have to cram almost an entire league season into two weeks, from April 15 to 30. That means doubleheaders and consecutive playing days.

“This season is not going to be reflective of the actual schedule,” Nies said. “The majority of nonleague contests will not happen, and league contests will take precedence, and we’ll just try and reschedule the best we can.

“Every time we have an opportunity to compete, it’s going to mean a lot,” she added. “We won’t have as many contests as we do in a normal year, so when we show up to play, we need to show up to play, because we won’t have any cushion in the schedule.”

– Finally, Summit’s opponents can appreciate the disadvantage the Tigers face every spring. Snow-covered fields and indoor practices are the rule at Summit High in March and April. Now opponents like Conifer, Evergreen and Elizabeth know what it’s like to run track drills in a hallway or go for a slide tackle on the hardwood.

– The layoff may have helped the swimming team. The squad didn’t have a full roster until local Nordic skiers returned from the Junior Olympics in mid-March. So the extra practice has allowed the team to coalesce without the pressure of live competition.

“The benefit is, we’ve had chance to train and get the whole team here, and that’s been a positive,” Fischer said. “The only way it will affect us is if we don’t reschedule, and it takes an opportunity away for qualifying for state.”

It appears both meets the swim team missed can be shoe-horned in after spring break.

– Because of the drought, the Jefferson County school district is reluctant to clear the snow off their fields. Of the facilities Summit is to use this spring, only Lakewood Memorial Field is currently playable. The district is waiting for the snow to melt at the North Area Athletic Complex in Arvada and at Trailblazer Stadium in Lakewood.

“They need the moisture so badly that they’re not taking it off the field,” Nies said. “They are not going to push any snowflake out of place.”

– The Tigers are a bit wary of the effects of condensing a four-week season into two weeks. Summit’s administration is urging its athletes to get as far ahead on academics as possible in preparation for a lot of missed class time during the second half of April. All things considered – missed school, a lot of I-70 trips and back-to-back games – Summit’s student-athletes and coaches are preparing for a whirlwind end to the season.

“It’s going to be hard,” Glynn said. “If we have three meets in one week, people are just going to be tired, and I think that will affect us. But I think we’re just doing what we can do now.”

That means staying fresh, focused and prepared to return from spring break ready to play.

Jason Starr can be reached at (970) 668-3998 Ext. 231 or at jstarr@summitdaily.com.

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