Missed practices can affect athletes
Tonganoxie High School sports teams couldn't win last week. Of course they couldn't lose either.
With school, practices and games canceled last week because the area was frozen, Chieftain teams haven't gotten much accomplished at all.
The basketball teams saw their Dec. 12 games against Lansing and their Friday games against Bonner Springs called because of the weather.
Ditto for the wrestling team's Thursday double dual at Piper.
They got to practice only on Thursday.
Coaches said that weather has affected the teams in many different ways, the first being in conditioning.
"It's not like the girls can go outside and run or anything," said girls basketball coach Leslie Foster.
Boys basketball coach Mike Webb said that a player's legs and aerobic conditioning are the first things to go.
"After a break like this, kids tend to get winded a little easier," Webb said. "It usually shows up first in rebounding and the jump shot."
Wrestling coach Bill DeWitt said that loss of conditioning especially could hurt a wrestling team because being in shape is one of the biggest parts of the sport.
The break in action also could affect the teams' momentum.
All three teams had just won their last competitions, and every win had meant something special to the teams.
The boys basketball team had just seemed to find its groove, beating DeSoto by 34 points after dropping its first two games by a combined total of 13 points.
The team had finally figured out how to win, then Mother Nature kept it from playing.
The girls basketball team also had momentum.
After dropping its first game, it had gone on to win two in a row, including a nail-biter against DeSoto in which the team won by hot free-throw shooting and strong defense.
Free-throw shooting was an area that the team had been working hard to improve this year, but after warming up against DeSoto, Mother Nature has kept it from playing.
And the wrestling squad, which won its first meet in a decade Dec. 9 at Onaga, also has had a break in it's momentum.
Mother Nature again.
But coaches aren't letting the down time bother them. In fact, several have found a silver lining on the snow cloud covering the area.
"What can you do"? said DeWitt. "I'm sure the kids I know the teachers haven't haven't been complaining about the time off from school."
DeWitt said it was hard to say whether the delay had hurt his team much since it came so early in the year.
"Now it kind of shortens the season," he said. "That's just the way it goes. You can't get all worked up about it."
He said the biggest problem for the wrestling team would be in making weight, though he added that most of his wrestlers are wrestling close to their normal weights.
He said that those who couldn't wrestle at the weight they wrestled at last week would simply wrestle at a heavier weight.
For the boys basketball team, Webb said the time off has allowed some of his players who had nagging injuries to get back up to 100 percent.
Bryan Gurss, Thomas Gilner, Kyle Rodell and Matt Needham all fall into that category. Webb said he expected them to be back at full strength.
Webb saw another advantage to all the time snowed in.
"They get more time with their families," Webb said. "It's given them a chance to slow down from school, basketball, and the stresses of everyday life."
All missed game will be rescheduled for after the holidays.
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