Back at it, at last

By: 
Sonja Karp, NLJ Sports Editor

Christmas break was a welcome respite from school, but it seemed like an eternity between athletic contests for our Dogies and Lady Dogies.

As scheduled, the four sports were looking at a three-week intermission between competitions, but then Snowmageddon hit and took away much of the opportunities in that last weekend before the break.

The annual Stateline Shootout was partially postponed because Belle Fourche and Lead were socked in and couldn’t get to Newcastle for the tournament on Friday and Saturday. The game with Sundance was postponed a day since Sundance had a snow day on Thursday, which was the first day of the tournament.

Thankfully, the Newcastle players were able to make that game up just one day later as roads opened up and the snow took a breather long enough to get there and back.

Wrestlers lost out on a home dual against Buffalo the Thursday before break, then the annual Battle of the Big Horns in Worland was canceled for Friday and Saturday. Coaches and athletic directors were able to wrangle an invite to Wright on Saturday, but only four of the team were able to make that tournament.

The swimmers had their meet in Cheyenne scheduled for that Friday and Saturday canceled, then had their home triangular canceled, then were unable to attend two more contests scheduled over break due to low numbers.

With all the cancellations, basketball came back to conference play after three weeks with only four games under their belts while the other 3A teams were returning with anywhere from eight to 10 games of experience.

The wrestlers hadn’t done anything but practice for four weeks when they returned, and the swimmers are looking at a whopping five weeks between meets when they finally get back to competition this week. 

The winter seasons are tough when you have Christmas break thrown into the season just a mere three weeks into it. Back when I coached, we used to have tournament opportunities over the break, which helped to break up the inevitable monotony of practice, and offered the teams the ability to get a couple more non-conference contests in as they prepared to start their run for regional tournament seeding.

However, several years ago it was decided that the kids needed to have a break from school and sporting obligations over Christmas, so we stopped going to those holiday tourneys.

Now, there is a limit to the number of games a team can play during the season, so I guess if you front-load your season with more pre-season games, you give up the late season contests, which are also beneficial as you get closer to post-season tournaments.

However, when you’re coming off what feels like an interminable hiatus, it’s not a lot of comfort. 

This week, the schedule heats up at last for all four winter sports, and for fans we are happy to have our beloved Dogies and Lady Dogies back in action. 

I know that I am certainly happy to have them back in uniform, and look forward to the next two months.

 

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