TERRE HAUTE —
Brian Mancuso is the most experienced of the high school athletic directors in Vigo County — and that’s a very relative term — but even he wasn’t quite ready for the headaches that have accompanied spring sports the last few weeks thanks to rain, rain and more rain.
“So far this spring has not been very pleasant for a first-year athletic director,” West Vigo’s Kenny Pearson said last week, and Terre Haute North’s Michael Menser saw no reason to argue.
“Obviously the weather causes huge challenges,” Menser said, “and now we’re at the point where [makeup] dates are no longer available.”
While there’s still a week to cram in more baseball and softball, and postseason golf is even farther in the future, sectionals in tennis and both boys and girls track and field are only hours away. And there are not necessarily enough days this week to complete all the diamond schedules; a complete Big Four baseball tournament is in jeopardy, for example.
Mancuso is completing his second full year as South’s athletic director, and there were drought conditions last spring. So he wasn’t really prepared for this year either.
“It’s the antithesis of last year,” he told the Tribune-Star. “I never thought about spring being that much wetter than the fall. I thought about having disruptions, but I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s a unique experience. Every athletic director I’ve talked to says this spring is the worst ever.”
“Trying to get all the games made up before the sectional starts is about impossible,” Pearson said, “and finding officials [for makeup dates] is the toughest part of it.”
“It’s not only the rain and weather, but field conditions too,” added Menser, “and the [Indiana High School Athletic Association] rules and regulations with lightning causes concern as well.”
Pearson, a former West Vigo baseball standout himself as well as the father of a recent Viking star, indicated this spring’s weather has surprised even him.
“I thought I knew what to expect,” he said, “but I didn’t realize all the sports it would affect. I think we’ve lost five tennis matches and three track meets [that can’t be made up] … I hate it for the kids. They just have to go day to day.”
“We’re all here for the student-athletes,” Menser agreed, “and they all love to compete.” The Patriots, he estimated, will come up two games short in each of the diamond sports, but have been lucky enough to have just one lost tennis match.
If the weather cooperates this week, South’s baseball team could play a complete schedule, Mancuso said, while softball will be short two games and tennis short three matches. “[Tennis] took it on the chin a little bit,” he said.
Although he’s been satisfied with the number of freshman and junior varsity contests the Braves have been able to play on the diamonds, Mancuso pointed out how bad weather can affect the future of those programs as well.
“It’s tough to find any consistency,” he noted, “because you don’t get to practice every day, or you have to practice inside … but the kids are pretty resilient. I feel pretty positive about how the teams have played [despite the weather-related handicaps].”
Pearson noted that he still sees former Viking athletic director Mike Miller occasionally, and said his predecessor has been kind enough not to gloat about Pearson’s predicaments.
“Last year he had such a great year [because of the dry weather],” Pearson said. “He told me he was going out with a bang.”