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High school sports: Frontier League teams face crunch because of weather

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The always approachable Bob Kowalick answered his phone Wednesday night and responded in uncharacteristic fashion: “It’s going terrible. How’s it going with you?”

The Frontier League executive director was trying to sort through the fallout of a third straight day filled with high school sports postponements with league playoffs looming in every sport.

“We’ve been in this situation before but it’s been quite a long time since we’ve been in this bad of a situation,” Kowalick said.

Here is a sport-by-sport breakdown of how the recent weather could impact the postseason picture:

VOLLEYBALL

Kowalick said that volleyball is the sport that concerns him the most.

The league championships for all three divisions are scheduled to be played Saturday at Watertown High School.

The league semifinals were supposed to be played either Tuesday, Wednesday or today. But makeups that would affect seeding in the “C/D” Division have been pushed back and will now be played tonight and/or Friday.

League chairman and longtime Beaver River coach Gene Sundberg said that the semifinals might have to be played Saturday morning at Watertown High School, with the championship to follow later in the afternoon.

“It’s still up in the air, but it looks like that may be where we’re headed,” Sundberg said.

Tonight’s South Lewis-Sandy Creek match will determine the top seed and a match between Belleville Henderson-Thousand Islands that was postponed to tonight will determine the fourth and final seed in the division.

Beaver River and Sandy Creek both have other makeups scheduled for Friday, eliminating that day as a possibility for the league semifinals.

“Obviously, it’s crazy,” Sundberg said. “You see a lot of crazy with the weather up here, but I don’t know that I can ever remember a year like this.”

The “B” Division final of South Jefferson-Lowville is already set while Indian River and Watertown are slated to play Friday night for the right to meet top-seeded Carthage in the “A” Division final. The Cyclones will also host Beaver River in a league makeup Friday just before its semifinal match.

BASKETBALL

Boys and girls basketball teams should be able to complete their regular season schedules without impacting the league playoffs.

But several teams will be in a crunch to do so, like the undefeated South Jefferson girls team which has five league games left, along with the “B” Division playoff final, with less than two weeks until the Feb. 12 Section 3 seeding meeting.

“To be blunt, this stinks,” South Jefferson coach Pat Bassett said. “Our conditioning is taking a hit. … It certainly cuts into preparation and most importantly, we lose the ability to break down game video and correct mistakes in the practices that follow games.”

Kowalick said that, for playoff seeding purposes, teams that have makeup games remaining will be credited with a loss. But that doesn’t affect the team’s record for seeding in the Section 3 playoffs.

The “A” Division league playoffs begin on Monday, putting them at the greatest risk, with the rest of the league beginning later in the week.

WRESTLING

The one definite in the league postseason schedule is that the Frontier League wrestling championships will take place on Saturday, regardless of makeups.

General Brown coach Mike Hartle said that this week’s postponements will only impact wrestlers that are still trying to qualify for the league tournament, or kids that need to drop weight between this week’s dual meet and the league tournament on Saturday.

“It makes it difficult on the guys that have some weight to lose… We’re going to be wrestling (tonight) then go right back into another weight cut on Friday, so it makes it difficult for those guys,” Hartle said.

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