Southcentral sports groups hustle to clear snow and move outdoors

jpeters@adn.comApril 21, 2013 

East High sophomore Brielle Johnson estimated the snow on the school's practice field was four feet deep, but the girls soccer team was digging into it with shovels one sunny afternoon last week anyway, hoping to speed the spring thaw.

"I think it's just a free-for-all, you know, go hard and go home," Johnson said. "This counts as fitness, working those upper arm muscles and back. Snow's pretty heavy."

With April storms bringing more than 20 inches of snow, outdoor sports played on grass and turf have been put on hold.

Cook Inlet Conference soccer teams were scheduled to hit the turf at outdoor stadiums last week, but they're still playing in The Dome, and Thursday has become the new target for the first outdoor match.

The high school softball season was scheduled to begin Monday, but those games have been postponed and likely will have to be canceled if the snow doesn't disappear by next weekend.

The high school outdoor track and field schedule is set to venture outdoors Friday with the Frosh-Soph Championships at South High. But as of now, all outdoor meets are questionable and day-to-day, said CIC meet director Christopher Lisenby.

"Everybody is anxious to get out," said West boys soccer coach Laef Eggen. "For Anchorage teams, somebody should submit a proposal to remove the snow; hiring somebody to clear the field off down to six inches, four inches and let Mother Nature take care of the rest. We'd probably be playing."

Snowblowers have been used at Albrecht Fields in an effort to prepare for softball season, but that still didn't save the start of the season.

One field at Albrecht is virtually free of snow, but still too wet for play. The other primary field still has a foot or so of snow, said Donnie Brooks, the softball director for the Anchorage Sports Association. If fields are still unusable Saturday, the season will likely have to be shortened.

"I'm not optimistic, but I'm hoping with any luck we can start Saturday," Brooks said. "If I can start Saturday, I won't lose any games."

Efforts to remove snow aren't limited to high school sports venues.

The grounds crew at the Palmer Golf Course was manually removing snow from greens last week. The opening of Palmer Golf Course has become an annual symbol of spring, because it's almost always first to open for play in the Anchorage area. Course management is hoping for opening day to arrive before April ends.

Anchorage Golf Course is often the first to open in Anchorage and is shooting for May 3, but general manager Rich Sayers said temperatures will have to rise quickly in order to hit that mark.

The National Weather Service forecast for Anchorage said Monday and Tuesday skies should be clear, and temperatures could hit the low 50s.







    Reach Jeremy Peters at or 257-4335.



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