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Despite snowy winter, high school sports to proceed on schedule

April 10, 2014

By CLAUDE SCILLEY

Thanks to the recent investment in artificial turf fields in the past five years by the city and Queen’s University, the spring high school sports seasons will start on schedule this month, despite the vast amount of snow that fell this winter.

“Here we are in the age of climate change, expecting global warming to have us on the fields in March, and the opposite is happening,” said Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association convener Frank Halligan.

“It’s going to be a different season but we still hope to get on our (school) fields by the third week of the season.”

Of course, that’s also the last week of the regular soccer and rugby schedules in seasons that are ridiculously short and compact, since sufficient time must be left to hold county and eastern Ontario playoffs to declare who will compete at provincial tournaments in the first week of June.

“It’s a short enough venture to begin with,” Halligan said.

Halligan said athletics people met with maintenance staff a year ago and, given that three fields at Limestone board schools have been down for repair in the last couple of years — and the fact that school fields are used almost twice as much in the spring as they are in the fall — the decision was made to play the first week of games on turf fields this year.

Instead, with fields that are still soggy — if they don’t still have snow on them — the decision was made this week to go two weeks on the five artificial surfaces: The city’s Machin Field in the east end and Caraco Field at the Invista Centre, as well as Queen’s facilities at West Campus, and Tindall and Nixon fields on the main campus.

“Thankfully, we’ve got these extra fields now,” Halligan said.

To pay to rent the facilities, each team’s registration fee will be about $150 higher than usual, Halligan said, “but measured against the tens of thousands it would cost to recondition a field, it’s probably a good investment.”

Play will start Tuesday, April 22, with four games each day at each facility, starting at noon, 1:30 p.m., 3 o’clock and 4:30. With a nod to the academicians, care was taken not to schedule any team for more than one game at noon, Halligan said.

Nixon Field will be home to rugby, while soccer will be played at the other four pitches.

Baseball is in its own quandary. Since no school has its own diamond, the high school teams rely on city facilities at Megaffin and Woodbine parks. They must wait until the municipality clears them for use, however, and Halligan fears that could take until the second week of May.

Two fields, at Marie-Rivier and Granite Ridge, won’t be available this spring, the former being due for repair and the latter because it isn’t finished. It’s expected McLellan Field at Sydenham will be shut down in the fall, as the school board and township discuss ways to restore that facility.

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