BY DENNIS CHASE
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — A late arriving spring is causing early season cancellations in high school sports.
“Spring has not sprung,” Traverse City West athletic director Patti Tibaldi said.
Traverse City Central canceled its two home events today — baseball with Elk Rapids and a track quad with Benzie Central, Kingsley and St. Francis.
A home soccer game Saturday with TC Liberty is still up in the air. A decision will be made today.
TC Liberty already had today’s game at Glen Lake wiped out.
West’s first spring event, a home soccer match with Hart, is scheduled for Saturday. The problem: West’s soccer field is still buried in snow. If the game is played, it will be moved to the Coast Guard field as part of a doubleheader with Central-Liberty.
“The Coast Guard (field) is actually looking pretty good,” Central athletic director Cody Inglis said, “but we need to make sure we can get the nets up and the lines down before Saturday. We’ll wait until (today) to make the call.”
The Titan and Trojan soccer teams have been able to practice on the artificial turf at Thirlby Field, Tibaldi said, but other teams have not been as lucky.
For instance, Central had a “maintenance day” on its baseball field Monday.
“They literally shoveled and snowblowed the field just to try to make it playable,” Inglis said. “It’s not ready. We could potentially play at East Middle School because that’s wide open and gets a lot more sun. East may be playable, but that’s the only field that would be.”
The Trojans are scheduled to play at Kalkaska in softball and baseball next week, but Kalkaska’s fields are not playable, Inglis said.
“We may cancel the JV games Tuesday and move the varsity games to Central if we can get our fields ready,” he said.
The situation at West is a little more dire because the west side of town received more snowfall.
“We still have three to four inches of snow on our tennis courts,” Tibaldi said.
Tibaldi said West’s soccer field might not be ready until May, which would mean switching more games to the Coast Guard field.
“That field (Coast Guard) is on sand so when it melts it drains pretty well,” Tibaldi said.
The situation is not any better at Glen Lake. Not only did the Lakers call off today’s soccer match, but next Tuesday’s track quad is in jeopardy.
“I can’t see that happening,” athletic director Mark Mattson said. “You can’t see the track yet.”
The immediate forecast is not cutting coaches and athletes any slack, either. Today’s temperature, expected to reach the upper 40s, could be the warmest over the next 10 days.
“The long term forecast calls for snow through next Thursday, potentially,” Inglis said. “From what I hear, up north in Gaylord, Mancelona and Bellaire, they have a ton of snow on the ground still.”
In the meantime, most teams continue to practice in school gymnasiums.
“There’s definitely an edge to the coaches and kids right now,” Inglis said. “They want to get outside. I have to remind them everybody in the north is in the same boat.”
Downstate, though, is another matter.
“South of Cadillac there’s no snow at all,” Tibaldi said.