April 23, 2018
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Heat forces schools to reschedule games, practices

By Ernie Clark, BDN Staff

   Diane Rollins has coached field hockey for 24 years but experienced a first Wednesday — a game postponed due to excessive heat.

Rollins’ Central High School team was scheduled to open its season with a home match in Corinth against Piscataquis of Guilford.

But the match was rescheduled for Thursday — weather permitting — due to the heat wave that again produced temperatures in the 90s throughout the state along with dew points approaching 70.

The Central-PCHS game was among a number of varsity field hockey contests and practices in all fall sports postponed, canceled or rescheduled Wednesday as coaches and school administrators opted for caution amid the record-breaking conditions.

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures reached the 90s for a fourth straight day in Bangor, with a high of 95 reported by mid-afternoon.

That prompted the postponement of a scheduled season-opening field hockey game sending Bangor to Skowhegan.

That match has been rescheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday provided Hurricane Earl doesn’t intercede.

Veteran Skowhegan coach Paula Doughty said her team was ready to play Wednesday, and the Indians held a team practice once the game was postponed.

“My kids play in Virginia Beach during the summer, so they’re used to the heat,” she said. “It wasn’t as hot today as it was [Tuesday], and we actually had a nice breeze on the field.”

At Central, conversations were held among coaches and administrators, ultimately resulting in the decision to call off practices and games for the day.

“I thought it was a good call,” said Rollins. “I’m usually not one for rescheduling the games, but because of the safety issue I think it was the right thing to do.”

Rollins, who has dealt with plenty of weather-related issues during her long tenure as Central’s girls basketball coach, couldn’t recall the heat influencing the field hockey season in such a way before.

“Once in a while in late September you’ll get a really hot day, but never like this,” she said.

Rollins said that practices leading up to Wednesday’s scheduled game required some extra attention on her part.

“Certainly we take a lot more water breaks,” she said. “And you have to watch out for the kids with asthma, too. As a coach, you really have to watch the kids and really talk to them to make sure they’re doing OK.”

Another area coach, Dodi Saucier of Orono High School, similarly could not recall one of her field hockey games being postponed due to heat during her 21 years on the sidelines until the Red Riots’ season opener at Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln on Wednesday was pushed back at least a day.

Saucier was glad for the postponement for another reason — she was in the hospital Wednesday — but she expects to be back with her team Thursday.

Since school for freshmen at Orono began Wednesday and older students slated for their first day of classes on Thursday, Saucier was able to schedule preseason practices around the hottest parts of the day earlier in the week.

“When we were on our preseason schedule we practiced early in the morning and then from 6 to 7:30 in the evening,” she said.

Other schools also adjusted practice schedules when possible to get away from the heat.

At Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft, for instance, football practice for Wednesday and Thursday has been moved moved from just after school to 7-9 p.m., according to athletic administrator Tim Smith.

Smith added that two preseason scrimmages involving the Ponies’ soccer teams Wednesday were canceled.

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