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Athletes getting anxious for spring

Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 8:48 p.m. CDT

When they should have been traveling to Sterling for their second regular season match of the season, the Sycamore High School girls' soccer team was working out – inside.

"This is our fourth week and we've only been outside once," SHS soccer coach Dave Lichamer said. "It's great for conditioning, but not to play soccer. The girls go out to play soccer, not run track."

Thanks to some late snow and unseasonably cold weather, local high school and college athletic teams had to postpone the first week of scheduled games.

Northern Illinois University football coach Rod Carey said in a news release that the team was disappointed to learn the start of spring football practice had been pushed back a week, but noted the construction of the Chessick Center indoor sports facility means this is the last spring the Huskies will have to adjust for the weather.

DeKalb High School Athletic Director Bryon Houy said high school seasons begin in March to accomodate the Illinois High School Association. The state likes to schedule state tournaments in early June, when schools are still in session, he said. While this pushes the season up, later tournaments can interfere with summer vacation plans.

"Pick your poison," he said.

Though seasons are scheduled to cooperate with the IHSA, individual athletic directors make the decision to cancel or postpone games, IHSA Assistant Director Matt Troha said. Houy said the decisions are common sense.

"If it's too dangerous for the kids to be outside, we don't go," he said.

Sycamore High athletic director Chauncey Carrick said he considers wind more than actual temperature in determining when to play. A sunny 40-degree day with no wind can be playable, while a cloudy 40-degree day with a strong wind is not.

The sports most affected by weather and field conditions, Carrick said, are baseball and softball because of the open dirt in their infields. Soccer teams, he noted, don't have to play on pristine fields.

When all the school's teams are forced to work out indoors, it can make for some interesting scheduling, Lichamer said. One day last week, the Sycamore baseball team had infield practice in a roped-off section of the field house while the track team ran laps and the girls soccer team worked out in the weight room. Down the corridor, the softball team went through drills in the main gym while some members of the girls track team did calasentics in the main lobby and others worked out in the wrestling room upstairs.

"It takes a lot of communication between the coaches," Lichamer said.

There is no way to know when the season will return to normal, but waiting is starting to wear on players and coaches, Carrick said.

"They are doing as much as they can indoors," he said. "But you can only take batting practice so much."

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