April snowfall makes spring sports difficult for local schools

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) -- - The Mississippi Valley Conference in La Crosse has already called off over 30 sporting events in the past couple of months. 

That doesn't include the nonconference games earlier in the year. The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association and local school officials said April snow is nothing new, but the amount of snow hasn't made it an easy for athletic directors to make up games. 

"You really can't plan for this kind of weather," said Matt Schneider, Aquinas High School activities director. 

Schools across the area and the state have been handed a big timeout for springs sports. 

"It just happens and then, when it does, you try to roll with the punches," Schneider said. 

Aquinas officials said they have canceled dozens of events this spring. Some teams in the area have only thrown out one first pitch.

"It's been tough," said Ryan Gilles, softball coach at Aquinas High School.  "There's only so much you can try to do to simulate in practice. We are at least fortunate enough to have three games under our belt. A lot of teams haven't even been outside once for practice."

WIAA director of communications Todd Clark said moving up the season in anticipation of bad weather would not solve the problem. 

"There will be years where you are able to play games in early March and to move the season back and force schools not to be able to play some of those games early on condenses that schedule all the more."

Aquinas senior soccer athlete Katie Hilby said the only thing she's been able to practice is patience.

"It's a struggle," Hilby said. "Practices have been canceled or moved last minute so we have had to learn how to be extremely flexible." 

Schneider said, on a more positive note, schools save a little money by having fewer games. 

"You're using less buses and you're paying less officials," Schneider said. "However, obviously, we would definitely rather be playing those games." 

He said the athletics department will do its best to make games up one day at a time. 

"We try to reschedule the nonconference games as best we can," Schneider said. "The conference games always take priority." 

Hilby, said when there's snow, athletes, coaches and administrators have go with the flow. 

"Once it's all over, then we can really get into it and work hard and get back into games," Hilby said. "It will be fine." 

Aquinas athletics officials said there are two rounds of conference games for team sports during the regular season.

They said the they will try to make up at least one round of conference games before the end of the school year. 

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