Just as all of you were buried in the record-setting snowstorm that hit the Fredericksburg area this past weekend, so were the athletic teams of the University of Mary Washington. All sporting events scheduled for this past weekend were postponed due to the inclement weather, and the scramble to reschedule went underway.
The men’s and women’s basketball teams had a home double-header scheduled for Saturday against St. Mary’s College that was originally postponed until Tuesday night. Unfortunately for those teams, more snow hit UMW and forced the makeup games to be cancelled as well. No new makeup date has yet been announced.
Another home double-header scheduled for both basketball squads against Hood College was shifted from a Wednesday night showdown to tonight, Feb. 10 (women play @ 6 p.m. followed by the men @ 8 p.m.) so that UMW would not have to play on back to back nights. With all the postponements, the men’s basketball team will now have to endure a brutal stretch where they will play six games in 10 days.
“I’ve been here for 14 years and have only had one game postponed prior to this year,” men’s basketball Head Coach Rod Wood said. “This is all new to me, and as I told the team, it will be like the NBA where you play everyday or every other day. I hope we respond well.”
With having played just three games in the past 22 days, Wood thinks that the teams conditioning is lacking and that the problem was compounded by the bad weather not allowing them to have gym access and thus limiting their practice. Wood also expressed that the postponements don’t just affect the players but the coaches as well.
“It is hard to get any rhythm, and we seem to be preparing for a different team each day. One day our next game is Gallaudet (rescheduled), the next it’s Stevenson (played), the next it’s St. Mary’s (rescheduled), the next it’s Hood (rescheduled), then St. Mary’s again (rescheduled), then Hood again. I feel like a dog chasing its tail and I can’t catch it.”
But basketball isn’t the only sport that’s getting frustrated in the aftermath of the recent weather conditions.
“Certainly the past few weeks have been very trying, and the next couple of weeks do not look much better,” track and field Head Coach Stan Soper said. “This is certainly an unusual winter, and it is getting harder to stay positive. But you have to find a way to deal with the circumstances as best as you can.”
The track and field team has made use of any open indoor space available to try and get some kind of practice in. The team has used the weight room, hallways, pool area and even stairwells as places for athletes to get work in.
Soper and his coaching staff have also sent home workouts with their athletes to try and keep them prepared. Because of the bad weather and treacherous travel conditions, Soper decided not to have his team travel to compete in the George Mason Invitational on Jan. 30 or the Christopher Newport Invitational that was scheduled for last Saturday.
Soper says that he is trying to get a meet for the team this weekend because he feels that it is a necessity for his team.
“Coaches need to see their athletes compete so they can evaluate the training progress,” Soper said. “Athletes need to compete to see that their hard work is actually paying off. Without competition, you don’t get to see the results of your work.”
While the track and field team frantically look for open space to hold practice, the men’s tennis team is lucky enough to not have that problem.
“We are extremely fortunate to have indoor courts on campus,” men’s tennis Head Coach Todd Helbling said. “This allows us not only to go forward with our matches this weekend but also to continue practicing on a daily basis.”
The cancellations of last weekend delayed the start of the spring season for the Eagles men’s tennis team. The group was all set to start with a couple of home matches against the University of Richmond and George Mason University, but the weather had other plans.
With those events being postponed, the men’s tennis season is now set to kick off this weekend, at home once again, with matches against East Carolina and James Madison University. Men’s tennis Head Coach Todd Helbling and his team are thankful that the frigid temperatures expected for Saturday won’t be an issue because of the aforementioned indoor courts that UMW has.
The unusually bad weather has certainly made its mark on the UMW athletic teams and the university as a whole. It’s safe to say that the coaches and athletes are all looking forward to less snow and warmer temperatures.