High school athletes will be sweating it out across Lorain County as students grind away participating in fall sports but, because of the elevated temperatures, they’ll be making some modifications to games and practices.
Clearview Athletic Director Mike Collier said the varsity volleyball triple header planned Tuesday night at Firelands High School was relocated to the Sheffield Township school because Firelands closed because of heat.
“We’re fortunate enough that our gym has air conditioning,” he said. “So we can host the triple-header. But the priority is always keeping our kids safe so for outdoor sports like football we want people practicing in smaller segments between breaks and making sure everyone’s having enough water.”
Collier said sports involving equipment, like football, also will go with lighter equipment, such as just helmets to try and keep down on the extra weight that comes with pads.
Sheffield-Sheffield Lake Athletic Director Dick Kershbaum said the school district also has an air-conditioned gym so volleyball practice will be able to go off without a hitch but football players will be going with less padding to try and keep away the heat.
“When it comes to cross country, they already do a lot with monitoring the weather conditions because they spend so much time outside that they’re on top of it,” he said. “They also practice on the French Creek trail and there’s a lot of shade through there to take breaks and there’s also a water station.”
In Lorain, athletic director Bryan Koury said because of the high temperatures and humidity expected Tuesday and today, coaches should be watching students who say they are thirsty closely and everyone should be monitored to make sure they’re having enough to drink.
In an email sent to coaches, Koury said student athletes should be given breaks every 15 minutes or so and practice uniforms should be modified to just helmets, shirts and shorts for football and short-sleeve shirts for volleyball players and soccer goalies.
“Please do your best to educate your athletes,” he said. “Fluid intake does not stop after practice. Hydration begins in the evening at home. They should keep drinking even if they are not thirsty. Ask them questions such as, “Does your urine look like lemonade or apple juice?” If they are properly hydrated then it should be lighter.”
The Lorain school district also had to cancel its varsity and junior varsity volleyball games against Shaw High School due to the eastside district being called off because of elevated temperatures.
Nearby Keystone School’s sports teams mitigated the heat with water and relocating practices, according to Superintendent Dan White. White said both high school boys and girls golf teams still competed Tuesday night, but coaches provided additional water, on top of asking athletes to bring their own water. And, high school football and soccer teams moved their practices from the outdoor fields to the inside fitness room.
At North Ridgeville High School, football, cheerleading and marching band practices were moved inside Tuesday evening to keep students out of the sweltering temperatures.
Varsity cheerleading coach Anne Proszek brought the freshman, junior varsity and varsity teams into the high school’s auxiliary gym, rather than have the girls practice routines on the track as usual.
“I did see that some schools were closing due to the heat and of course the afternoon is the hottest part of the day and I was thinking the temperatures were almost reaching dangerous levels,” she said. “And I thought for the kids’ safety and even for practice to be successful, we should be indoors if we could.”
Proszek said this is the first time the teams have opted to practice inside this year, and said in the future practice locations would be determined case by case depending on temperatures.
All three teams practiced together in the gym, taking the time indoors to prepare for a pep rally and mini cheer camp. Co-captain senior Lauren Piper, 17, was thankful the practice was moved inside.
“I’m kind of happy we decided to make the change because if it was outside I think it would have been miserable for everyone and probably not even the safest,” she said.
The biggest downside working in the gym, Piper said, was that the girls would have a harder time practicing routines without the track or football field to line up on.
“We aren’t going to be able to have as accurate of formations in here,” she said. “That’s going to affect us when we go to game day because we aren’t going to be able to set up properly in here and take that straight to the game, whereas out there we would already know exactly what yardage lines are on and everything.”
Down the hall, the marching band stayed inside for the majority of its practice, according to director Hailey Bryson. Students did venture on field for the last half-hour of their two-hour block to practice drills, but took frequent breaks between sets.
“We had lot and lots of water and for our students we have a (cooler) of water,” she said. “And we actually had a really awesome parent drop off coolers and coolers of water … so even if the kids didn’t have a water bottle (with them) they had a bottle in their hands.”
In the Academic Center, the school’s football teams also opted to work indoors — for students’ safety and maybe to get a leg up on the competition Friday night, head coach Luke Durbin said.
“We’re smart with how we practice and we always got plenty of water and stuff like that,” he said. “But when we play a game on Friday, I thought the most important thing was (to) come inside, stay a little bit cool, save our legs instead of drilling them outside in this heat for two hours, so we’ve got maybe a little extra energy Friday.”