The End Zone Seat: Flooding Disrupts Schedules
It isn’t unusual for a snowy winter or a rainy spring to raise havoc with the high school sports schedules.
But it is extremely rare for the fall sports slates to be disrupted as badly as last week’s flooding has done.
Wyalusing Valley had seven varsity events postponed between the start of the storm on Wednesday, Sept. 7 through Tuesday, Sept. 13.
Wyalusing’s varsity football game at South Williamsport, which was postponed twice from Friday’s original date and the first make-up date on Saturday, was played Monday night.
The Wyalusing volleyball team had a league match with Athens postponed and missed the Williamson Tournament on Saturday.
Girls’ soccer has faced the toughest road this fall.
Elk Lake had to pull out of a match on Sept. 3 because it didn’t have enough girls to field a program. Then, the original league opener with Sayre, set for Sept. 7, was rescheduled for Sept. 13 at Sayre’s request. The flood forced the postponement of matches with Towanda and Troy on Saturday and Monday, respectively.
The Wyalusing cross country team called off its Lasagna Invitational, slated for Sept. 8. The NTL opener on Sept. 13 at Athens was also postponed.
Not only were game schedules affected, but all the teams lost valuable practice time.
The football team had only two full practices prior to the flooding and one poorly attended voluntary workout prior to Monday’s 33-20 loss at South Williamsport.
“With all the adversity going on and not having those days of practice hurt,” Ram coach Jim Huffman admitted after the loss.
It wasn’t just the football team that found practice difficult during and after the flood.
“It was a major disruption to the kids’ training,” Wyalusing cross country coach Jim Schools said. “A small number of kids were able to keep training, but that number was small.”
However, he couldn’t find fault with the runners, who, when the waters receded, took time they could have used to train to help local businesses damaged in the flood with clean-up efforts.
“For that, I am very proud,” he said. “Not just of my runners, but all of the WVHS students that volunteered to help.”
The Susquehanna River inundated Wyalusing’s football practice field, portions of the cross country course and the new soccer field behind the elementary school, as well as the softball and baseball fields.
“I honestly don’t know when we will be able to get back on the course,” Wyalusing cross country coach Jim Schools said.
Wyalusing is slated to host Canton and Sayre on Sept. 20.
The new soccer field wasn’t finished for the season opener and, after the flooding, the administration decided the team will compete this year at Peterson Stadium.
Coach Nick Maghamez admits that the scheduling problems have been difficult for everyone associated with the program, including the girls, coaches and parents.
“I can sense some frustration from our kids,” he said. “It’s rough on our parents as well.
“It’s not easy to prepare without set plans,” he said referring to himself and the staff. “However, our coaching staff has done a great job communicating and remaining flexible.”
He did note that the flooding spared the team from playing five games over a seven-day span.
“Frankly, I don’t care what our schedule holds after dodging that bullet,” he said.
Like Schools, Maghamez was impressed by the resiliency of his players.
“During the voluntary practices after the flood, most of the girls present were in good spirits,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting that.
“You can’t help but smile and learn from their unique personalities.”
Volleyball coach Gayle Huffman didn’t report any negative effects from the disruption.
The team was able to return to practice Monday ahead of Tuesday’s slated match with Sayre.
While she certainly wanted to get her team more action at the Williamson tourney before league play hits full stride, missing the tournament eliminated a fourth trip this season to the NTL’s western hinterlands.
Travel to some events for the foreseeable future will be challenging given the level of road and bridge destruction throughout the region.
We all can be thankful that the old girl we call the Rainbow Bridge withstood nature’s wrath one more time.
I wouldn’t want to think about the disruption in the lives of the Ram Nation if it hadn’t.