Eau Claire, Fall Creek (WQOW) -- Even though the most recent weather system dropped significantly less snow than originally forecasted, the spring sports season is still very much on hold.
It's definitely been a challenge for local athletic directors. Fall Creek has canceled sixteen athletic events already this spring season, and Crickets athletic director Brad LaPoint expects it'll be almost two weeks before a regular schedule can begin.
"I am very confident that we are not on this field by next week," says LaPoint, about the Fall Creek baseball field, "I hope for the week after. I've never seen anything like this as long as I've been here. It's the winter that won't quit and the spring that won't come. So I hope something breaks pretty soon."
It's also challenging for the athletes. Being stuck inside as mid-April approaches takes a fair amount of mental toughness.
"It's hard to hit fly balls and have actual game-like situations inside," says UW-Stout senior catcher/outfielder Alison Gray, "but we're trying to make the most of our practices inside, and just keep improving every day."
"It's frustrating," says UW-Eau Claire senior first baseman Sarah Fern, "but you got to know that every day you got to get better, and whether that's in the gym or it's on the turf, until we get to the dirt you've got to just make the adjustments."
We're just over a month away from the start of the spring sports postseason, and yet many area teams have not even played a game. Bad weather and even worse field conditions have forced cancellations and sidelined local athletes.
"I've never seen anything like this," LaPoint says, "it's the winter that won't quit and the spring that won't come. Day to day, until this is gone, the forecast for tomorrow doesn't matter. Unless it's going to be 70. Mother nature is the best way to get rid of it, and she kind of failed us right now."
It's the same problem for almost every local school. Mud in the dugout, white snow where green grass should be, and with the amount of accumulation covering the fields, it could be a while before area games can be played.
"At this point we can't go out and remove snow anymore," says Eau Claire Superintendent of Recreation Dawn Comte, "because our fields have become soft and we risk damaging our fields. Our fields need to melt, the frost needs to come out, and then it needs to dry up a little bit."
Comte says her office gives schools in the area regular updates on the condition of fields like Carson Park, but the news -- like the recent weather -- has been disappointing.
"It's very weather dependent," Comte says, "if the weather cooperates with us and warms up a little bit and dries up -- drying up is the key -- we might be 10-14 days out. If the weather does not cooperate with us, it might be longer."
"That's the hard thing," says LaPoint, "how can you develop a plan moving forward when you don't know what tomorrow is going to bring? There could be another five to six inches of snow on top of what we're standing on right now."
Everyone agrees it's time for the winter weather to take the hint and leave.
"Hopefully the weather cooperates soon and we can get the kids out and the umpire says play ball," says LaPoint, "I mean, that's the best we can hope for at this point."
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