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Since the spring sports seasons kicked off in mid-February, Southern California has been continually bombarded by the ever-returning flow from several “atmospheric rivers,” as the seemingly unceasing rains have covered the area.
While the grass on the fields that these spring sports teams inhabit has become greener, it’s made more of a headache for coaches and athletic directors in what is already the busiest season on the high school sports calendar.
Whereas local youth leagues have been able to add weeks on to the end of their schedules to make up for the lost dates, teams at San Clemente High School have to abide by the CIF-SS and CIF State calendars, which have firm dates for the end of their regular seasons and playoffs.
“Outdoor sports has been a challenge,” San Clemente athletic director John Hamro said. “There’s some creative things that are being discussed to make up games. Some things, nonleague or tournament games, may not be made up.”
While losing some nonleague games can be disappointing, they ultimately don’t have an effect on CIF-SS playoff qualification like league games do. Many coaches and players even refer to nonleague games as “preseason” games.
However, unlike in previous years when there’s been an uptick in precipitation, this run of rainstorms has lasted deeper into the season. Now with Spring Break next week and teams fully into their league schedules, teams are going to have to employ those “creative” scheduling maneuvers, as Hamro mentioned.
“We’re in a situation where Spring Break has come up early and we haven’t had a lot of league games,” Hamro said. “What you’re going to see (are) some Saturdays, some three-days-a-week, some doubleheaders.”
Again, due to the firm-end dates for CIF-SS and a late Winter Break, South Coast and Sea View League teams got a taste of this in the winter season, with basketball and soccer teams playing condensed schedules of three games per week with Monday-Wednesday-Friday or Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday schedules.
For baseball and softball, there will likely be those condensed schedules, with the extra option of doubleheaders. Doubleheaders are a staple of those sports and happen in early-season tournaments all the time, but it is unusual for their league slates.
Where the creativity really hits is for sports such as golf or track and field, where, instead of dual matches/meets with two teams, there is the possibility of combining for tri-matches/meets with three teams competing against each other at a single site.
But even with that schedule juggling, playing surface conditions are paramount, as athletic departments and administrations look out for the health of their student-athletes.
While baseball has had its share of cancellations, Hamro praised baseball coach Dave Gellatly for working so hard on the Tritons baseball field to have the surface, particularly the infield dirt, be playable, while other schools haven’t been able to.
Field conditions affected a recent track dual meet against Trabuco Hills.
First, the actual track had to be blow-dried off to allow the running events, as well as pole vault and high jump to be contested. However, the dual meet couldn’t be completed in full that day because of the rainwater that had collected in the jumping pits and throwing areas. The long jump, triple jump, shot put and discus were then held off to be completed the following Monday.
As the rain was still falling in San Clemente at press time on Wednesday, March 29, the schedule will continue to adjust as Triton teams compete for league titles and playoff positions.
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