Weather delays state sporting events, district incurs added expense
Rain and lightning kept threatening the state this past two weeks, causing delays in all state sporting events. Three of Sabetha’s sports teams — golf, track and field, and baseball — were scheduled to compete at state competitions the week of May 20. All of the athletes who qualified for state competition experienced some type of delay in their competitions.
Not only do the delays cause stress for the athletes and coaches, but also to Prairie Hills USD No. 113 district as they consider safety and cost.
Superintendent Todd Evans said the most important priority is the safety of athletes and coaches.
“Hopefully, under the watch of school personnel, young people are safer than they would be if they were not under the watch of school personnel,” Evans said.
District policy in regard to general safety of student athletes attending sporting events when weather or other elements pose a threat to students states that it is the responsibility of the adults to keep student athletes safe, using the best judgment they can.
The other factor with delays is extra expense to the district.
The district does not receive any compensation for expenses from the state competitions. In fact, Evans said, it is an additional expense.
“Fortunately, activity account money is allowed to be carried over from year to year,” he said. “This allows for some flexibility with those accounts that does not exist for the general fund.”
Evans said the individual schools try their best through charging admissions and through family paid activity fees to be self-sufficient, but the funds for activities are supplemented by the district.
USD No. 113 budgets every year for spending more money than they plan to spend. This allows the district to have the budget authority in the event of any unforeseen expenditures.
“The additional travel expenses are not budgeted for specifically, but we do have the flexibility that allows for this,” Evans said. “In the end, we carry over less money to the next fiscal year.”
Sabetha State Events
The Sabetha High School golf team was scheduled to play in the state tournament at Emporia on Monday, May 20. The team traveled there and played 11 holes before the tournament was postponed due to weather. The tournament resumed on Wednesday, May 22. Though no extra hotel accommodations were needed, extra food and travel expenses were incurred.
The State Track and Field Championships were scheduled for Friday and Saturday, May 24 and 25, but lightning and rain pushed the Championships into Sunday. Friday’s events were delayed by three hours from a 7:45 a.m. start, but all events were eventually postponed into Saturday. By Saturday evening, most of the Championships had taken place, but the meet was not able to be completed due to more storms. The event was postponed into Sunday, May 26.
Sabetha athletes and coaches were planning to spend two nights in a hotel — Thursday and Friday, May 23 and 24 — and then leaving Saturday when the meet was complete.
When the meet was pushed into a third day, it was decided to have one coach remain with the four athletes yet to compete, along with two alternate runners.
This weather delay required extra hotel rooms and food cost for Sunday.
“This also was the year we had to stay one day earlier because we were scheduled to compete Friday morning,” said Athletic Director Scott Burger.
State baseball began with the Bluejays competing in Emporia on Thursday, May 23. The game was originally scheduled to play at the Municipal Golf Course in Emporia, but due to heavy rains the previous days, it was moved to Emporia’s Trusler Sports Complex. The team was able to complete that game, which qualified them for play in the semi-final on Friday, as well as either the championship game or the third place game on Friday.
On Friday, the Bluejays were in the midst of the semi-final game of the state tournament, when the game was postponed to Saturday due to weather. When the game was pushed into Saturday, the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) announced that no third-place game would be held.
With this weather delay, Burger said the baseball team had to stay Friday night in a hotel due to delays and storms. This meant one extra day of meals and one more trip back.
The game was scheduled to be played Saturday, but the determination was made to reschedule the game to Sunday. Additional rains caused the games to be moved to Monday, and finally required a location change to Seaman High School in Topeka.
“It is a challenge to reschedule events,” Evans said. “Fortunately, we haven’t experienced anything like the end of May during the school year.”