While baseball and softball teams watched Wednesday's downpour, wondering if they would play or not, Denair and Turlock Christian high athletes stepped on to the track at Joe Debely Stadium ready to compete in the third Southern Athletic Track meet of the season. The Coyotes and Eagles joined the other SAL schools on the track and field as the rain came and went in 15 to 20 minute intervals, undeterred by the windy, wet, cold weather.
"The kids don't like it and I don't like it," Denair's head coach Jim Wagner said. "It's not fun, but my kids handled it well."
Wednesday's meet wasn't the first to be held during rainy conditions. All season both Denair and TC have had to compete under adverse conditions at one time or another and so their athletes have learned to accept them.
"It's been an interesting season," TC's head coach Pam Franco said. "You can't get your best times when you're running on cold muscles."
In addition to the weather many teams entered the meet shorthanded as some athletes were away for spring break. TC was missing at least six athletes and Denair was missing a handful as well. Despite the setbacks, TC's girls performed exceptionally well, with the talented Rebekah Muller leading the Eagles once again, while Denair's boys gave the rest of the field stiff competition. Sophomore Coyotes Quinton Allen and Trey Howze, in particular, led the way for Denair with a number of first place finishes on the track.
"We got some girls that are real strong compared to other school's athletes," Franco said.
Although the final results of the meet have yet to be calculated due to a new timing system, the Coyotes and Eagles are more concerned with their individual performances rather than the team finishes. The focus on the individual performances isn't due to a lack of desire for a team championship but rather because the SAL League Finals meet is what truly matters.
"What it all comes down to is that final day," Wagner said. "It's winner take all."
There will be one more SAL meet on April 26 before the league Finals on May 12.