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Hot, hot heat

It is supposed to be fall sports season, right?

The way the weather has been this week, it could have fooled me. It’s been hotter than blue blazes outside this week.

But, the show must go on. Except in the cases in which the show isn’t going on.

A couple of cross country meets were cancelled this week out of safety concerns for the runners given the heat.

Gilbert’s cross country meet being held on the Iowa State University cross country course on Tuesday got the axe.

Then, Webster City decided not to compete at Thursday’s Marshalltown cross country meet. Shortly thereafter, Marshalltown decided to just go ahead and pull the plug on the meet.

Southwestern Community College was set to travel to Indianola for Simpson College’s Bill Buxton Invite this afternoon.

After initially letting coaches know they were cutting race distances down to just 4 kilometers (races were supposed to be 8K for the men and 5K for the women), meet organizers then sent out an email Wednesday letting coaches know they had changed the start time for the meet to 6:30 a.m.

The Glenwood cross country meet on Saturday has moved start times up to earlier in the morning, as well.

The Creston cross country team took to the city pool this week to try and beat the heat.

Head coach Pat Schlapia, with the help of parks and recreation director Mark Huff, set up practices for his team at the pool on Tuesday, Thursday and today.

“We knew (the heat) was coming up and we were going to have to get adapted to it, but how could we make the best of it?” Schlapia said. “That’s the thing, you make the best of a bad situation. Safety is our biggest concern. The first thing I did Monday morning was call Mark Huff. Big thanks to Mark Huff, and also Alex Rogers for being here the whole time we’re out here.”

Schlapia has used pool workouts with his athletes in past years, but hadn’t done so recently.

Getting away from the typical routine of running was nice for the athletes, he said.

Doing pool workout not only helps keep the athletes a little bit cooler, but it also helps take some of the stress off the legs that comes with running on grass or on the roads.

“I think the kids enjoy it,” he said. “This is kind of a break from the constant running, and not so much of the force on the legs. We had a few kids that were kind of buggered up with some injuries, so this is kind of a good way to rehabilitate some of those injuries. I think the kids benefitted from this.”

Football

The record-high temperatures this week have affected football teams, as well.

West Des Moines Valley, which practices on a turf field, moved two practices this week to 7 p.m. and wore only shoulder pads and helmets to try to reduce the effects of the heat.

Creston/Orient-Macksburg coach Brian Morrison elected to continue having practices at regular times in order to help get his players acclimated to the temperatures.

As CNA sports writer Larry Peterson wrote in Thursday’s game preview article, Morrison and the other Panther coaches have been dilligent in efforts to keep their players hydrated, with extra water breaks for the players.

They also plan to rotate eight linemen in during tonight’s season opener against Chariton, while also rotating players in at other positions.

Which, after seeing what happened in last week’s Zero Week games, isn’t a bad idea at all.

I covered the Clarke vs. Clarinda Academy football game and witnessed several players going down with leg cramps. And it wasn’t just an occasional occurrence, it was happening frequently.

Officials in that game called multiple officials’ timeouts for water breaks.

Meanwhile, Stanton had three players go down with heat-related issues in its Zero Week game, including one player who had to be transported to the hospital in Council Bluffs.

And temperatures for last week’s game weren’t nearly as bad as the triple-digit temperatures predicted for today. Clarke’s coaches believed the temperature to be about 84 degrees at kickoff of last week’s game.

Several schools across the state have pushed back the start times of the football games tonight.

The highly anticipated matchup tonight between Ankeny High School and Ankeny Centennial has been moved back to 8 p.m.

Other games that have pushed back start times include Riverside vs. Audubon, Solon vs. Mount Vernon and Wilton vs. Tipton.

The West Liberty vs. Iowa City Regina game will feature a later start to the junior varsity game, including adjusted quarter lengths, with the varsity game also getting a later start.

But what about the Creston/O-M vs. Chariton freshman game today?

When I spoke to coach Morrison Thursday, he informed me the game is still being played at the regular time, but it was his belief that there would be some adjustments made — possibly in quarter lengths and with the amount of breaks for players.

I know coaches have been stressing to the athletes the importance of hydration this week, and I just hope the athletes take it to heart, because on a night like tonight, hydration is going to be extremely important.

And it will be very important for the fans, as well. Don’t forget to hydrate yourself, even if you’re just sitting in the stands.

But, like I mentioned earlier, the show must go on. It’s time to kick the 2013 high school football season into full swing with tonight being the first full slate of games.

Just as a reminder, every Friday night during football season you can find recaps of the games that CNA sports writer Larry Peterson and I cover, along with a list of scores on the Creston News Advertiser’s website.

•••

Contact the writer:

Twitter — @scottvicker

Email — svicker@crestonnews.com

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