Reflecting on his team's 100th straight dual meet win on Tuesday at Mansion Park, Altoona Area boys track and field coach Mike Adams talked about how the cold, rainy, snowy, blustery conditions were pretty much ideal for his team.
The Mountain Lions must have felt like a polar bear in the rain forest this spring, then, because, as Adams also pointed out, the weather before this week had been more like late May than March.
The temperatures aren't the only thing that has been better this spring. So, it seems, are the results.
A look at the first Mirror track honor roll of the season revealed 14 times, heights or distances that exceeded last year's state qualifying standard and four more that were on the cusp of doing so. The 6-foot-10 high jump of Tyrone's Charles Wilson-Adams and the 15-10 pole vault of Altoona's Ryan Steinbugl met the requirements for the national honor roll, and Chestnut Ridge's Matt Dull already is running sub-40-second times in the 300-meter hurdles.
It might be that the great conditions have given the competitors more chances for good outings, but there could be other, deeper factors at work.
"The month of March is a great training month. I think that helped a lot of things. And the first part of the season had some nice weather,'' Adams said. "We've had a pretty mild spring, and that has definitely helped the performances.''
If that's the case, then, with still more than a month until the district meets to improve, we could be seeing some terrific numbers if the weather hold out.
"This nice weather early I feel puts the kids in a good position to have better performances later in the year. We are used to running in snow, sleet, rain in the months of March and April and even start of May sometimes,'' said Tracie McMullen, a state silver medalist when she was at Chestnut Ridge who went on to jump at St. Francis and then coach scholastically. "I feel it gives the athletes an advantage.''
This might not translate into more district titles, because athletes all around the state are benefiting. However, it might lead to more making it to PIAAs by meeting state qualifying standards.
n McDowell High School has parted ways with Kraig Hetz. Hetz, who won District 6 Class AAAA titles at both Hollidaysburg and Altoona before returning to the Erie area, resigned after an 11-12 season.
Although Hetz's career record is 376-205, the school questioned the program's direction. Hetz's teams were 3-11 against rival Cathedral Prep and his deliberate style - the Trojans scored 29 against Girard and 28 against Strong Vincent this year - reportedly didn't always sit well at McDowell.
n Condolences to the family of Matt Yeager, who passed away last week after a long battle with Marfan's Syndrome at the all-too-young age of 39. The 6-9 Yeager moved up to varsity as a freshman and helped Bernie Jubeck's 1988-89 Hollidaysburg boys basketball team end a 58-year district championship drought.
"He was an outstanding young man in every respect, worked hard and was extremely coachable. His family was outstanding with great values," Jubeck said.
n Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Bishop Guilfoyle assistant girls basketball coach Bill Adams, who recently has been in the hospital.
Cmor can be reached at 946-7440 or firstname.lastname@example.org.