Weather hampers area track teams

Jamie McCarty

The weather has played havoc with the area track and field teams all season and that continued this weekend with the cancellation of Strasburg’s Ram Country Invitational.

The invitational was slated to be the first big meet of the season, every local team except for Stonewall Jackson was entered in the competition. The meet was canceled on Thursday due to the forecasted snow for the region. Most of the area teams have only had one track meet all season, and Sherando hasn’t had any.

Sherando coach Jamie McCarty said that the team will now have to go another week without participating in a big meet.

“Obviously, from a development standpoint it hurts,” he said. “Because the sooner you can get going the sooner you can find out about your athletes. Whether it’s somebody like (Sherando junior) Isaiah (Allen) that’s established or we’ve got a pretty good group of freshman kids coming in. So anytime you lose a chance to get eyes on kids in a competitive situation it hurts. They can go at each other in practice, but it’s always good to see how they react when it’s somebody wearing a different jersey you’ve got to compete against.”

Sherando’s first meet is scheduled for Wednesday, a Class 4 Northwestern District meet, which the Warriors are hosting. However, McCarty said that the number of entries each team can have is limited due to time constraints.

The Warriors, along with Warren County and Skyline, are participating in the Handley Invitational on April 14, which would be the first invitational for each school.

Skyline and Warren County each participated in the Gary Bugg Coed Classic at Harrisonburg High School on March 19.

Warren County coach Joseph Owens said it was good that they at least one meet in early in the season.

“We were really excited about (the Harrisonburg meet),” Owens said. “And we felt like we were setting ourselves up nicely for Strasburg. Unfortunately, all of the sudden springtime is here, and there is snow in the forecast, which is not something we were expecting. So it is a setback. I think we have some good kids, some strong mentalities, and they seem to listen to us pretty well.”

The final meets of the regular season are scheduled for May 11, leaving teams with just five weeks to get ready for the postseason.

Skyline coach Steve Burton said that he feels like his athletes will be able to handle the shortened season and any pressure to try to qualify for postseason meets.

“The guys that are experienced know that once it warms up and once we get into the end of April, May, May is when it starts to matter,” Burton said. “So they’re anxious about it, but they’re not super concerned, because they know that (they still have time) to qualify for states.”

Warren County is scheduled to be in a tri-meet at Brentsville on Wednesday, while Skyline will be in a quad meet at Culpeper on Tuesday.

Strasburg and Central each participated in a tri-meet at Luray last week for its first meets of the season. Central and Stonewall Jackson are slated to be in the Wrangler Invitational on Friday at Luray. It will be Stonewall Jackson’s first meet of the year. Strasburg will be in a dual meet at Clarke County on Wednesday.

McCarty said that they did put together an intra-squad scrimmage a few weeks ago just to get a look at some of their kids in competition.

He said they had decided not to schedule any meets in March because the weather is usually not great but the March weather has carried over into April.

Even though most teams have practiced, they’ve had to adjust how much they can do in practice due to the cold, or rain or windy conditions.

McCarty said that he’s been happy with how the kids have responded to the tough situations.

“The kids have done a good job of just battling through the conditions,” McCarty said. “And we’ve tried to get the most quality we can out of what we’re doing. From that standpoint, we’ve been pretty pleased.”

McCarty said that Sherando is going to have a split squad on April 21, with half the team going to a meet at Woodgrove High School and half going to a meet at Lake Braddock High School. He said that way more kids will get to participate and they could get a better look at the whole team in competition.

Both Owens and Burton said they might consider adding a meet to their schedule to make up for the Ram Country Invitational being canceled.