Weather puts hold on spring sports
By LARRY LEEDS, Sports Editor
For most of the month of April, the weather has played a huge role in the spring sports schedule -- and the result has been slim.|
The only two Madison High School teams that have competed are the girls' golf team at the Dakota Valley Invitational and the boys' tennis team against Brandon Valley. Everything else has been postponed or canceled.
The girls' golf team has been hitting balls inside and holding rules sessions, according to Coach Joey Liesinger.
"We did get out one day and tried to utilize the time on chipping and putting," he said.
While the girls have been indoors, most of the work they have done includes putting on carpets, hitting and going over the rules.
The Lady Bulldogs should have played in five events already this season. However, they have participated in just two meets.
"There is no replacement for playing. You can watch all the videos you want, read all the magazines and hit balls into a net, but there is no replacement for watching the ball fly," Liesinger said. "At their age, it is very difficult to feel a shot without seeing it."
"All of our spring sports are affected by this weather," said MHS Tennis Coach Doug Sims. "It's a tough deal. We are trying to reschedule many of our matches, but we need to be careful not to be out of school too much, and then be aware of the stress it puts on players' arms."
The tennis team started the schedule on the right date with a dual against Luverne, and on Tuesday the boys played in Brandon.
Five other matches have been postponed or canceled for the Bulldogs.
"Well, it's hard to go back inside because there are just so many things you can do," Sims said. "The biggest thing we miss is being able to hit ground strokes and get our timing down. The ball really slides on an inside floor."
The state tennis tournament is seeded, so it is vital to get in certain matches across the state to have the seeding process operate the way it should.
"When we go inside, we can do a lot of serving and hopefully become as consistent as we can there, and then we do a lot of doubles work, volleying, positioning and then of course, you can always condition," Sims said.
Sims knows it will actually look like spring one of these days, and the Bulldogs will be out there giving it their best shot.
The Madison track teams have had two meets: the Dan Lennon Invitational at the DakotaDome and the Huskies Invitational at Elk Point.
"Other than not having a meet in the last two weeks, the teams are doing fine," said Coach Kevin DeCurtins, although the team has had to go back to doing inside workouts.
"We have been using the fitness room to utilize the treadmill and the Force treadmill to get in some quality workouts," DeCurtins said. "Our workout from Monday was just as challenging as an outdoor workout would have been -- maybe tougher."
The field events have been limited to techniques that the athletes can work on in the gym or in the hallways.
"Our high jump landing pits have not been moved outside this year because we looked ahead at the weather forecast and decided to leave it set up in the Middle School Gym," DeCurtins said. "Fundamentals and technique get some very important attention at times like this, for focusing on that aspect of an event usually pays off in the end."
When the Bulldogs have been able to get outside for running workouts, the coaching staff has been pleased and proud of how the kids are handling the situation.
"There has not been a word about it being too cold or whining they don't think we should be out," DeCurtins said. "They know we have to stay ready for the next meet that actually happens, whether it is tomorrow or next week. It will eventually get to be spring."
The Bulldogs have had three meets postponed or canceled so far this season.
Six events for the girls and three events for the boys have qualified for the state track meet.
"We don't have to get all the meets in, but we don't like to go over two weeks without an opportunity to see the benefits of all the hard work of our athletes," DeCurtins said. "Many of our meets are limited to three entries per event, which means we cannot get everyone involved. Some meets do not hold the pole vault event, and we hate to miss out on those meets that are unlimited and hold a full event schedule.
``Our region is consistently one of the toughest in the state," DeCurtins said. "There is a chance that an athlete may miss out on a state meet opportunity if they have not pre-qualified in the season before the region meet," DeCurtins said.
The MHS baseball team has three games in and is better than a lot of teams, according to Coach Kevin Leighton.
"Some teams up north haven't played yet," he said.
Madison has had four games postponed.
"We need to play all of the south teams on our schedule," Leighton said. "I want to play as many north teams also, and I will try to get in as many junior varsity games."
Leighton said the boys have been playing catch in the armory.
"They have great attitudes and will be ready to hit the field again," he said.