The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

High School Sports

January 28, 2014

School policies vary on postponed events

JOHNSTOWN — The recent frigid temperatures have prompted most area schools to cancel classes each time that the weather has failed to cooperate and that has had a major impact on the number of athletic events that have been played.

On Tuesday, the Tribune-Democrat schedule listed 13 boys and girls basketball games, which were all postponed except for a doubleheader at Salisbury-Elk Lick, as were several of them on Monday night.

Along with high school basketball games, there were junior high contests and two rifle matches that were called off.

There was also a heavy slate of wrestling including six regular-season matches and four District 6 Class AA dual-meet tournament matches that were on the schedule for Tuesday.

All the matches were postponed save for the North Star at Meyersdale match, which was held despite both schools canceling the day’s classes.

“It had to be approved by the superintendents,” North Star coach Tim Rosa said. “From what I know, as long as it was just cold weather and not snow, we were OK. If it was a lot of snow, it was never going to happen.”

The match was important for North Star, as it helped the Cougars move from the No. 6 seed in the District 5 Dual-Meet Tournament to the No. 5 spot, but Rosa said Meyersdale also did not want to postpone the match.

“I think the big thing was it was their senior night,” Rosa said. “They wanted it to happen for their seniors. They know it's tough to reschedule. We were definitely willing to wrestle no matter what and they wanted to get their senior night in.”

Meyersdale coach Chadd Sines said he wasn’t involved in the discussions.

“I didn’t even know anything about it until last night I was talking to Coach Rosa,” Sines said. “I said it looks like it’s not going to happen. He said ‘I don’t know, we’re working some stuff out.’ ”

The policies for each school’s decision-making process regarding to play or not to play is similar, but are generally flexible based on the situation.

“It is our policy that anytime school is closed or dismissed early due to weather, there are no practices or extra-curricular activities,” Bishop Carroll Athletic Director Joe Skura said.

“We also will do the same if there is impending bad weather coming after school has been dismissed regularly by canceling all evening activities, games, and practices. The safety of our students and families is our No. 1 priority and we do not want students and their families in harm's way.”

Westmont Hilltop Athletic Director Tom Callihan said that when the Hilltoppers cancel classes, that all PIAA activities are also canceled.

“Our school was out on Tuesday so our hosting of the wrestling duals was postponed,” said Callihan, whose school was set to welcome Central and Central Cambria on Tuesday for first-round action with the winner taking on the Hilltoppers in the quarterfinal round.

Northern Cambria Athletic Director Jim Yeager deferred any comment on the issue to superintendent John Jubas, who did not return a phone call on Tuesday evening.

In addition to the events themselves being postponed, athletic practices are also in jeopardy due to the weather.

“Usually no practices are held when we do not have school,” Callihan said. “The coaches can only have practices if the administration determines that conditions have improved and it is now safe to hold practice, but normally when school is cancelled, practices are not held.”

With the regular season dates shrinking and the postseason rapidly approaching, athletes are getting anxious about whether they will be in top form when they are set to compete.

“It sometimes can be depressing for the high school athlete or coach because what was predicted as bad weather may end up missing us, and practices and events still don't happen because of the call,” Skura said. “However, we believe the safety of our students and their families is more important.”

Skura said that schools are working together to come up with solutions to the cancellations.

“It is very difficult to coordinate all of the different schedules,” Skura said. “There are just two weeks left until points are due for basketball and you really don’t want you kids to have to play four days in a row, but we’re running out of time.”

Tribune-Democrat Editor Eric Knopsnyder contributed to this story.

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