Wintry weather keeps Ryker busy

When bad weather affects a local sporting event, you’ll find GHS athletic director Seth Ryker at his computer and on the phone.

“I look at the weather forecast as it is approaching and send out a preliminary email to all of the people involved, both the athletic directors and the coaches, and tell them what we’re looking at for a forecast and what dates we are looking at for possibly rescheduling,” Ryker said.

A track meet could involve eight to 10 schools. Email helps, when large numbers of people are involved, although with the unpredictability of email, a people-to-person contact is almost needed, the A.D. said.

“I ask for input from those schools how many would be able to come on the rescheduled date. I also give them a time when the decision will be made.” He later sends an email with the final call.

That’s the process that was used with the Dutch Zorn Invitational that eventually was completed on the scheduled day, April 12, but in a single session format.

The contacts don’t stop with other schools. If an alternate date is in the discussion school staff also contacts as many as 100 volunteers who help administrate the meet.

“Number one to let them know it is not going to work on this date, but then also to see if they are available on whatever date you move to,” he said.

Inclement weather also caused staging problems for the meet.

“In a good year when the weather is clear, we’ll spend a week outside getting ready for the track meet painting lines and putting up flags and basically making sure everything looks top notch,” Ryker said.

Snow and ice were on the ground right up to the morning of the Zorn meet preventing early preparations.

“I’ve never had to spread ice salt on the day of a track meet, but I went through the bleachers twice (that morning) trying to break up the ice on the bleachers,” Ryker said.

Once the meet was moved, incoming school officials, athletes and fans were understanding about accommodations that might have to be made.

“I’ll bet I was told ‘thank you’ six times that day from coaches from other schools for the fact that we had the track meet,” he said. “They were afraid that it was going to get cancelled and it was going to be another opportunity lost for their kids to compete.”

With more events cancelled early this week, school officials can’t wait for spring to get here.

“I keep thinking that at some point it’s going to get better,” Ryker said. “We’ve kind of paid our dues.”