Mother nature has thrown a wrench into the school calendar of many local school districts this winter, but until last weekend none had made an impact on the Knox athletic schedule. That changed when the athletic department made the decision to prevent both the swimming and indoor track teams from traveling to their competitions on Feb. 1.
“I think it was the right decision overall,” head track coach Jason Haynes said. “It was pretty nasty that day.”
While the men’s and women’s basketball teams had avoided the storm that hit the Midwest late Friday night and into Saturday morning on their way to St. Norbert, traveling to Beloit and Bloomington was deemed unsafe for the swim and track teams respectively by Athletic Director Chad Eisele.
“It’s always about student-athlete well-being,” Eisele said. “Ultimately I am the decision maker, and after talking with the coaches we made the decision not to travel.”
The cancellations were announced the day before the events were scheduled to take place, a timeframe Eisele said was typical for these situations.
“You want to make [the decision] as timely as you can for the sake of the fans, while also doing everything you can to get the contest in,” Eisele said.
Though conditions were arguably more unbearable earlier this term when Knox decided to play a women’s basketball game against Bethany-Lutheran College on the same day classes were cancelled because of sub-zero temperatures, Eisele distinguished that situation from the cancellations.
“[The cold] didn’t affect us [at the fieldhouse], we had heat and the team we were scheduled to play was already in town safely,” Eisele said. He also described conversations with President Teresa Amott about the fact that while classes were canceled, the school was not closed, something that had triggered sporting event cancellations in the past.
While Knox is not obligated to make up the loss of a track or swimming event, the track team has added the Monmouth College Invite to their schedule.
“In terms of our training plan, I had always planned to have a week off. Since that was planned for Feb. 15, we are going to go to Monmouth again,” Haynes said. “We had had a lighter week of practice and we were planning on getting some really good times [at the Titan Open]. We are hoping that this lull will lead to some pretty good times at IC.”
No announcement on the status of the swim teams’ dual meet with Beloit has been made.
As for the weather, Eisele is already looking to the forecast on Saturday when Lake Forest is scheduled to come to town for both men’s and women’s basketball. Chances of snow currently sit at 40 percent.