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H.S. Sports Teams Cope With Frigid Spring

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s no secret. Many Minnesotans are sick of the long winter season and so are thousands of high school students who’ve had to practice inside and cancel games.

At many schools, the fields and tracks are still covered in ice and snow, which means a shortened season to fit everything in before the state and sectional tournaments.

Since the start of the spring season, track practice at Harding High School has been indoors.

Dozens of kids dressed in shirts and shorts sprint by their classrooms. Senior Antonio Wagner says it’s been hard.

“Running in the hallways on these hard floors is not good for the runners’ shins and feet,” Wagner said.

Already, the track team has cancelled one practice and will likely cancel another one this week because the track is still covered with patches of ice.

Baseball is in a similar situation. So far, three games have been cancelled this year.

“For some of the players, they’re not used to it,” said senior Ole Johnon. “It can be stressful.”

Harding’s athletic direction, Jerry Keenan, can’t remember snow on his frozen fields this long.

“Kids are fading a little bit in their enthusiasm because they like to play games,” he said. “When you continually do that and there’s no games … that’s like going to work every day.”

Across the metro area, gyms and field houses are being shared, seasons will be shortened to finish before section finals, some non-sectional games will be cancelled and baseball and softball teams will have to play more on the weekends.

“They’re talking about double-headers, but they have to use different pitchers, so they’re all struggling,” Keenan said. “They’ll make due and they’ll try not to shortchange the kids at all.”

In Minneapolis public schools, all baseball and softball games have been cancelled through the rest of the week. Other Minneapolis sports will be decided on a school-by-school basis. In St. Paul public schools, Keenan says coaches will make those decisions day-by day.

At Harding, only the tennis team is outside now, playing in freezing temperatures, because they’ve spent the past few weeks chipping at the ice and clearing away the snow from their courts.

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