Hurricane Sandy leads to high school sports schedule changes
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
by Matt Porter
Hurricane Sandy quickly became a threat to Palm Beach County on Wednesday, causing chaos in a busy week of high school sports.
Wednesday evening, the Palm Beach County School District announced schools would close three hours early today and all day Friday. That forced the cancellation of after-school activities on those days. The offshore storm is expected to bring heavy rain and wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour to Palm Beach County beginning today.
School administrators scrambled to find makeup dates for a week of critical late-season football games, eight girls volleyball district championships, the county's cross-country championship meet and more. Many of the football games this week are district games and must be played.
Administrators hoped to move most events to Saturday.
"Traditionally, if the school is closed on Friday, nothing is supposed to happen until school is back in session on Monday," Palm Beach County Athletic Administrator Yetta Greene said. "But this is a little different."
Two football games including out-of-county opponents were moved to Saturday: King's Academy at Pembroke Pines-Somerset Academy (1 p.m.) and Wellington at Vero Beach (7 p.m.).
If other moves to Saturday are not approved, Monday could be one of the busiest high school sports days in some time.
Some schools immediately agreed to play Monday, including No. 4 Royal Palm Beach at No. 8 Atlantic in a key District 13-7A game at 7 p.m. However, other teams don't want to play that day. Two teams playing a non-district game, No. 9 Park Vista and No. 7 Palm Beach Gardens, would be forced into a short week if they played Monday. Each plays its final district game of the season the following Friday, which would mean fewer days to prepare for a make-or-break game.
"We have John I. Leonard on Friday, and that decides both of our seasons," Park Vista Athletic Director Pam Romero said.
The issues hardly stop there. Schools also must book game officials, many of whom work youth and other leagues on Saturday; secure police officers and support staff; and navigate around activities like ACT testing, which would leave many seniors unavailable Saturday morning.
One Palm Beach County football team that expects to play this weekend is top-ranked American Heritage, scheduled to fly to Louisiana on Friday to play nationally recognized West Monroe at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Southeastern Football Conference, the 14-team independent football league that includes Benjamin, St. Andrew's and Pope John Paul II was scheduled to open its playoffs on Thursday. It will instead play those games Thursday, Nov. 1.
In girls volleyball, the District 12-3A girls volleyball final between Jupiter Christian and Benjamin was moved to 4:30 p.m. Monday. Other hosts, including Dwyer (District 9-8A), Boca Raton (10-8A), West Boca Raton (14-7A), 13-7A (Royal Palm Beach), 12-4A (Cardinal Newman), American Heritage (13-3A) and Grandview Prep (12-2A) were trying to find make-up dates.
In swimming, the District 10-1A meet at St. Andrew's will open with timed finals beginning at 10 a.m. today, instead of prelims and evening finals.
The organizers of the county cross-country championship meet hoped to hold it at 8 a.m. Saturday, pending school district approval.