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Area athletic directors try their best to keep ahead of weather struggles

March 26, 2014 Updated: March 26, 2014 at 7:55 pm
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photo - A spectator talks on his cellphone while waiting out a rain delay Thursday, May 9, 2013, during the first day of the Colorado State 5A Girls Tennis Championships at the Gates Tennis Center in Denver.   (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
A spectator talks on his cellphone while waiting out a rain delay Thursday, May 9, 2013, during the first day of the Colorado State 5A Girls Tennis Championships at the Gates Tennis Center in Denver. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)  

Heading into the weekend of the Class 4A state boys' basketball semifinals in Boulder earlier this month, Kris Roberts already had plenty on his mind.

Aside from the Cheyenne Mountain athletic director preparing for the Indians' first appearance at the Coors Events Center, he also had his eyes on the long-range weather forecast as a fast-moving, early-spring winter storm bore down on Southern Colorado.

And it was on track to potentially disrupt home baseball and girls' soccer games the following Tuesday.

With a little foresight and good luck, Roberts made a few calls, and Cheyenne Mountain's baseball home opener with Lewis-Palmer took place one day earlier, ahead of the storm that wiped out all of Tuesday's games in the area.

After last year's active April that caused countless headaches and log-jammed schedules in all spring sports, Roberts felt fortunate to have had the flexibility to play a game under more playable conditions.

"If we can get a jump on the weather, we'll absolutely move a game if we can," Roberts said. "For that first week, we had games on Tuesday and Thursday, so we had that flexibility. Moving forward, we'll have league games on Saturday, too, so that potential will be different."

The soccer game against Doherty went on as scheduled, despite blustery conditions, one of many judgment calls athletic directors are required to make every spring, where conditions can change in an instant and vary greatly depending on location.

"We thought it was playable for soccer, and we're trying to not get in a situation where you have game after game, trying to squeeze them in at the end of the season," Roberts said. "March is pretty easy. The bulk of the spring schedule is in April, and you have to navigate through holidays and proms and end-of-year festivities. On top of that, the weather starts to throw curveballs at you."

Jim Porter knows that feeling all too well, calling the shots not far from the top of Monument Hill.

"We get the worst of the worst," the Palmer Ridge athletic director said. "Later in the year, we might be more proactive about maybe moving games around if we see bad weather on the horizon."

Meanwhile, the Colorado Springs Metro leagues, which span from far northeast (Pine Creek in 5A) to more than 20 miles to the south (Fountain-Fort Carson in 5A to go with 4A's Mesa Ridge and Widefield) don't offer the flexibility to move games up.

"In our handbook, if a game is postponed, you're supposed to make it up the next available day," Mesa Ridge athletic director Mike Sullivan said. "At least in our league, playing games ahead of the weather hasn't been something we've focused on. But after last year, our awareness is definitely heightened."

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