Willmar postpones sporting events because of tornadic activity
WILLMAR -- Thursday afternoon brought the kind of predicament a new athletic director wouldn't expect to encounter until winter. But Jamie Thompson has faced his first severe weather call while the calendar says that it's still summer. By 5 p.m. ...
WILLMAR -- Thursday afternoon brought the kind of predicament a new athletic director wouldn't expect to encounter until winter.
But Jamie Thompson has faced his first severe weather call while the calendar says that it's still summer.
By 5 p.m. he had been forced to call off all five Willmar Cardinal varsity events, two of them indoor sports.
Heavy rains, the threat of a tornado or a combination of both led 33 Central Lakes Conference varsity, junior varsity or junior high events to be postponed or canceled.
At 2 p.m., Willmar was still good to go. Thompson had student aides squeegeeing the tennis courts to get ready for the home match with St. Cloud Apollo. The heavy clouds, it appeared to Thompson, were to the north and the noon downpour was the end of it.
But at about 2:45, just 15 minutes after school was let out, a tornado warning for the area was broadcast. Soon the sky opened again in another cloudburst.
It would be two hours before the warning was lifted.
"I was on the phone with coaches and school officials up in St. Cloud, but it just got too late," said Thompson. "You can't delay the decision forever. You can't keep officials and others hanging."
The athletes were kept at school. Since the volleyball team elected not to drill, the football team practiced in the gym for its homecoming game after the all clear.
Swimming at Sauk Rapids, also under a tornado watch, was also postponed. Soccer matches here and in Glenwood were called off, mainly due to wet fields.
Mary Hanson, head volleyball coach since 1989, said this was a first for her. While deaths or accidents at other school had met a postponement, it had never happened due to weather.
Both she and Thompson said the safety of the students is paramount and that games and matches can almost always be rescheduled.
Thompson said he'd start contacting athletic directors this morning to reschedule events.