High school sports: Weather wreaks havoc on practices

Lewisburg football coach Marc Persing gathered his players after putting them through conditioning paces Monday afternoon at the rear of the new high school.

The sun shined bright as Persing talked to the Green Dragons about their strong first day of practice. 

The same can’t be said for Danville football coach Jim Keiser or Ironmen cross-country coach Jeff Brandt as they spoke to their teams Monday in Danville.

Both coaches held practices in a driving rainstorm, made possible by the Ironmen’s turf football field and all-weather track.

Shikellamy began its afternoon football practice in nice weather, but the practice ended with players and coaches being pelted by rain drops. Still, it was the first day of actual practice for the Braves after a week of heat acclimatization.

“It was definitely exciting,” Shikellamy senior Lucas Tilford said. “We have a lot of guys ready to play football. I think we’re looking good.”

Most teams were able to practice Monday despite the heavy rain and flooding to the north. Warrior Run was able to get in morning sessions, but was forced to postpone its afternoon sessions.

At Mount Carmel, it was the opposite for the girls soccer team.

“Our morning practice had to be canceled due to the heavy deluge of rain,” Red Tornadoes coach Emily Lloyd said. “We had an afternoon session and it seemed to be perfect timing. It was hot and humid, but we were able to get through what we wanted to get through.”

Lloyd said the team had a good afternoon practice, but added that canceling the morning practice was “kind of a bummer.”

The rain was a hindrance to a Danville football team looking to make some changes on offense. The Ironmen are planning to add to wrinkles to their familiar Wing-T offense.

Keiser didn’t want to give too much away, but, with an inexperienced offensive line and a wide variety of skill players — so many, in fact, that Keiser worried he missed one or two when talking about it — the Ironmen are looking to take advantage of their strengths.

“We have all of our skill positions back, so right now our timing looks good with our backs and things like that,” Danville senior Shane Kozick said. 

“We had three different offenses (today) in the workout and all three have the chance to be explosive,” Keiser said.

Danville football wasn’t the only team impacted by rain. Milton field hockey coach Jenn Mabus said her team accomplished everything she wanted it to on Day 1, but she was a little concerned going forward.

“It was horrible,” she said of the weather. “I really would have liked sunshine.

“I wish we had more time to get ready. We need to get the field lined and the grass mowed. It makes it harder when you’re fighting with the weather. For field hockey, we need the grass to be short, but they haven’t had a chance to really cut it with all the rain. We’re trying our best and we’re going to keep a positive attitude.”

Selinsgrove boys soccer coach Chris Lupolt said his team got in a full morning practice but that it “poured buckets” as the evening session was starting and the team had to practice inside.

“The kids were engaged all summer,” Lupolt said, noting participation in offseason workouts. “We built upon that. The kids were motivated and sharp. I was pleased.”

For all the teams there is much work to be done before the season starts later this month.

“The first week is about trying to figure out who fits where,” said Lloyd, a point that Lupolt and Mabus also made.

On the gridiron, there was a marked change that came with the first day of actual practice.

“Today was a lot more aggressive,” Tilford said. “We’re trying to get after it.”

Daily Item sports editor Kurt Ritzman contributed to this report.

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