Indiana Wesleyan University sports teams have battled an extra opponent this spring: the ever-changing weather.
Athletic Director Mark DeMichael said more than half of the scheduled spring sporting events so far have been rescheduled or cancelled due to the weather. DeMichael blamed the long winter and heavy snowfall for setting teams back to start the season.
“When the snow goes away, that doesn’t mean the field is ready,” DeMichael said. “I’ve been here 17 years, and this is easily the worst winter we’ve had since I’ve been here.”
According to DeMichael, IWU coaches collaborate with opponent’s coaches to decide whether an event will be played, rescheduled or cancelled. Ultimately, the home team’s coach makes a judgment call about the game. After a coach makes the decision to cancel, the teams have to communicate with their athletic directors, groundskeepers, transportation and game officials to decide on a date to make up the event, if possible.
“It’s a pain; it’s just not a fun process,” said DeMichael.
Baseball head coach Chad Newhard said rescheduling isn’t ideal, but the team is used to the process.
“We’ve played three games on the regularly scheduled time at the facility that they were supposed to be at, but that’s typical stuff,” Newhard said April 9. “Our guys do a really good job of handling it and they understand it’s part of [the game].”
Newhard said low temperatures early in the baseball season caused the most cancellations,
“We’ve had to move some games because of rain,” Newhard said. “But usually temperature, especially in March, is kind of the biggest deal if we can play or not.”
The baseball team has been fortunate to make up some games at a turf facility in Westfield, Ind.
“We’ve gotten fortunate to have a couple other facilities open up,” Newhard said, “and we’ve been able to play there so it’s really helped us out.”
The men’s golf team has not been so lucky. The team had to cancel its only home match of the season, the IWU Spring Invitational, and fought through lightning, rain and hailstorms to finish the NAIA Brickyard Classic last week. The IWU Spring Invitational was supposed to be Coach Austin Conroy’s first match as head coach of the men’s golf team. Conroy said it’s nearly impossible to reschedule golf matches.
“In the spring season there’s not really much you can do to move it,” Conroy said. “It’s tough and it’s hard as a coach, honestly, not to get frustrated.”
Coach Conroy said he tries to focus on how players can grow through the adversity of severe weather conditions.
Conroy said, “If they’re comfortable with [the weather] and just realize that and stick through it mentally, that’s kind of the most important thing.”