Local athletes in hibernation until schools can reopen

by Chris Goltermann and Doug Gorman

Mother Nature isn’t always a sports fan.

Thanks to the winter storm that paralyzed most of the state over the last three days, Coweta athletic departments are dealing with reschedulings as well as lost practice time.

It couldn’t have come a worse time as basketball teams head into the final week of the regular season and wrestling squads prepare for their traditional area tournaments on Friday and Saturday.

Most coaches, however, understand the need for their athletes to remain safe first. East Coweta head wrestling coach Josh Herring, who is preparing to host the Area 3-AAAAAA traditional tournament on Saturday, feels those priorities come first.

“Wins and losses are temporary things than can be replaced,” Herring said. “Kids can’t.”

The entire sports schedule throughout the county froze with cancellations on Tuesday, Wednesday and today. Today’s events included Coweta County Middle School Athletic League basketball games that had already been rescheduled from Tuesday.

Even worse was that some involved with athletics were stuck in much of the mess around metro Atlanta that had commuters stranded.

They included former Newnan High All-State basketball star and Cougars assistant Russell Powell. Powell, who also works for Comcast Sports as an on-air reporter and editor following a college career at Jacksonville, finally returned home following a 22-hour trek that included an overnight stay at a Publix Supermarket.

“I was on the expressway till 4am and finally got to where I could get off and stop,” Powell wrote on Twitter.

He’ll have until Friday before the Cougars can get a chance to step back on the floor under head basketball coach Rod Ladd. Newnan had its Region 3-AAAAAA showdown with Douglas County for third place on Tuesday postponed. Douglas County students were among those stranded at schools due to icy roads.

Tuesday’s cancelled basketball games included Northgate’s trip to Whitewater and East Coweta’s bus ride to Westlake. The Heritage School and Trinity Christian also had GISA Region 1-AAA doubleheaders postponed.

Northgate has rescheduled its contest with Whitewater for Monday, giving its teams three games over a four-day span. Teams also have a previous makeup with Creekside from Jan. 7 rescheduled for Friday, Feb. 6.

“Our shooting might be off at first, but every team is in the same situation,” he said. “Having to make up games is not something new to us. We went through the same thing in 2011. When you play a winter sport, it is just something that you have to deal with every once in a while.”

On the wrestling mats, East Coweta prepares to host the Area 3-AAAAAAA traditional wrestling tournament also including Newnan, while Northgate travels to McIntosh for the Area 4-AAAAA tournament.

It’ll mean missing at least four straight days of practice time this week.

“I’m hoping for the best and thinking about what I can do to motivate kids to keep active in the snow and manage their weight,” Herring said. “Honestly it hurts pretty bad, but I know it is in the best interest and safety of the kids.”



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