Weather affects spring sports early events

Cold and snowy conditions forced cancellation of all recent sport events for Dawson County High School.

Three teams – tennis, softball and track and field – had to pull out of their season openers.

David Fuqua, head coach for the DCHS tennis team, said it has been an ongoing struggle dealing with the weather, his latest example being the cancellation of Thursday’s meet against Hardin.

“Some days I don’t know if I should prepare practice indoors or outdoors,” Fuqua said. “The kids just really want to get competitive right now and the weather is not letting us do that. Their attitudes have been good though and understanding, they’re just chomping at the bit and that I like.”

Earlier this week, the Glasgow-based National Weather Service announced a “Hazardous Weather Outlook” for northeast Montana, including Dawson County: “Potential Hazard: Snow. Timing: Saturday evening through Sunday. Snow Accumulation: 2 to 5 inches.”

The NWS also predicted snow covered roads and reduced visibility for travelers. As of Friday morning, the Weather Channel posted a 10-day weather forecast for Glendive that included vast ranges of temperatures at 16 to 56 degrees with rain and snow forecasted for later next week.

This week, Fuqua moved practices into the DCHS gymnasium where he made a “makeshift court” with traffic cones and tape lent to him by the City of Glendive.

“We are playing a game called ‘Swarm,’” he noted. “The weather has been a battle. My original drills of hitting the wall are getting repetitive and boring for the kids. Repetition is a good thing, but the kids want to compete.”

The tennis team is scheduled to play in Billings next Friday and Saturday. Billings, which may hit its snowest year on record, also has snow in the forecast for next weekend.

Practice this spring has also been difficult for head softball coach Sarah Cobb and head track and field coach Tom Temple, who shared similar tales of practicing indoors and cancelling games and meets.

Cobb’s team cancelled three games, but remains scheduled to play against Sidney next Tuesday and Thursday, before competing in Lewistown on Friday and then in two more games for the Fergus Invite on Saturday. She hopes to turn some of the upcoming single games into double headers to make up for cancellations.

“We haven’t played a game yet, which is hard on the girls because they are ready to get out and play,” Cobb said. “We have been out on the field off and on over the past few weeks, but nothing consistent.”

Cobb has been trying to find silver linings, but hardships remain in having to adjust so early in the season.

“Being indoors has given us a chance to work on the fundamentals like throwing and fielding, but we are limited when working with outfield and pop flies and longer throws,” she said.

For Temple, his crew cancelled its first meet and postponed the second. He hoped to get in a quadmeet on Saturday, April 7 in Glendive.

Track and field spent the first week indoors, but they have since tried to tough out the weather.

“The kids have been pretty tough and just worked through things. I am pretty amazed at how good their attitude has been,” Temple said.

Like other coaches, Temple broke down the pros and cons of how practicing in weather affected his competitors. “The cold weather has been the hardest on the more technical events like the throws and the jumps,” he said. “Your muscles just don’t have the same quickness in the cold. One good thing is that we’ve probably worked more on our based level of fitness with a little more running, so I think down the road that will pay off with better times and less injury when the weather does decide to warm up.”

Reach Eric Killelea at