Blazing heat forces sports schedule changes

The National Weather Service warns Davis of extreme temperatures this weekend. Athletes must be sure to hydrate constantly.

By Annie Mitchell, Editor–

The National Weather Service issued an ‘Excessive Heat Warning’ in the Central Valley at noon on Wednesday that will remain active until Sep. 4 at 8 in the evening. Davis is no stranger to hot weather, but temperatures this weekend are projected to reach over 110 degrees.

In response to the dangers that extreme heat can pose to athletes, the Davis High Athletic Department has made several adjustments to sport procedures this week.

Last Monday, all athletic activities scheduled for the artificial turf stadium before 7 p.m. were moved to grass. Exercising on turf raises the possibility of a heat-related illness because of its heat-retaining characteristics, according to the New York City Department of Health.

Football was among the sports affected by this adaption. Furthermore, its away game against Woodcreek on Sept. 1 has been rescheduled from 7 to 8 p.m., and the Athletic Department plans to let players hydrate and cool off in the shade during stoppages of play.

Cross country has its first meet, the Lagoon Valley Classic, on Sept. 2 with a National Weather Service forecast of 110 degrees. To accommodate, the first race will have a morning start time of 7:45, about a half hour earlier than originally planned. Each race will also only be two miles long, though varsity normally races for three miles.

Like football and cross country, the women’s varsity golf team has made adjustments in its practice schedule due to the heat, and has made its Thursday practice optional.

“Optional practice simply means you can come and go if you wish,” coach Brent Watney said. “I’ll be there either way.”

Watney cancelled golf practice this Friday to avoid facing a 112 degree environment.

So what can athletes do to cope with the scorching climate? First and foremost, they can “hydrate, hydrate, hydrate,” according to Athletic Department Director Jeff Lorenson.

“The number one thing for athletes to understand is [that] hydration starts two days ago,” Lorenson said. He stresses the importance of “continually sipping water throughout the day” and “not just chugging a bunch of water before a game.”

For athletes that work out for 90 minutes or more, Lorenson suggests an energy drink to replenish the electrolytes lost during exercise.

Water sports such as water polo are not exempt from paying close attention to the weather, according to Lorenson.

“It’s important for water polo players to know, which I believe they do, that you still sweat in the water,” Lorenson said. “Even though the water is cooler, after this prolonged heat wave, it warms more than what the normal water temperature of a pool would be.”

Lorenson urges coaches and fans to also be wary of the heat.

“We work with the other schools to ensure [they have] taken proper measures to ensure safety of the entire environment, not just those that are on the competition field,” Lorenson said.

During his time at DHS, Lorenson has never encountered a heat wave such as this one, but he has administered past schedule changes due to rain.

“I would rather deal with rain than heat,” Lorenson said.

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