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Excessive heat wreaks havoc for fall sports teams

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By Dave Taylor

The Trimble Banner

High school athletic directors are long accustomed to weather conditions playing havoc with sports schedules during the winter and spring months. Snowstorms often create scheduling problems during basketball season.

Spring rains often deter baseball, tennis and track events.

In many cases athletic directors won’t reschedule spring events, due to the unpredictable nature of April and May weather.

In the fall, football and cross-country teams usually can hit the field even in inclement weather, such as rain or an occasional late-autumn snowfall. Lightning, usually, is the culprit that causes games to be stopped or cancelled.

But this year, the seemingly unending heat wave has Trimble County High School Athletic Director Frank Ragland and his counterparts in Kentuckiana struggling with scheduling headaches.

“We’ve had to make a lot of adjustments in our schedules. Right now we’re sort of in a holding pattern,” Ragland said Friday afternoon, when the thermometer was expected to hit 100 degrees. Factoring in the humidity brought the heat index to about 110 degrees – a dangerous level, particularly for athletes.

“With the heat index where it has been, we’ve had to cancel all of our outdoor practices this week,” Ragland said. “The football team has held practice inside for the past couple of days. Boys’ golf had to cancel one match this week. We were able to get in one volleyball game this week. Of course, that’s held inside.”

Ragland said he and the football coaches at the high school and middle school would be watching the weather closely over the weekend. The middle school football team was to play it’s first game at home on Saturday night, followed immediately by a high school scrimmage game.

“We’ll just have to see what conditions are like before we decide to go with it or not,” Ragland said.

The high school girls’ golf team has only been able to practice three or four times so far, he said. The team’s first match was scheduled for Monday, Aug. 16.

“Last year we didn’t have anything like this to contend with in fall sports,” Ragland said. “I don’t remember the heat index ever getting over 93 or 94 degrees last year.