Soggy weather makes spring sports a challenge
A wet April in north central Wisconsin means not much practicing is going on outdoors.
"It's rained for about twenty days straight, it seems like," said Rhinelander activities director Brian Paulson.
For most schools in this case, like Mosinee, the weather forces practices inside their gymnasium.
Rhinelander goes inside too, to the Hodag Dome.
"We've been able to play multiple soccer games in here, softball games, tennis matches, we've been able to do it all," Paulson said.
One of those soccer games happened on Tuesday, in a game against Iron Mountain, Michigan.
The more than one-year-old facility has given the Hodags plenty of flexibility amid the topsy-turvy weather, forming their own home-field advantage.
"Comparing to other schools, I know a lot of the schools in Wausau and the teams we've played, everyone is like, we've been on a gym floor, we've been outside for one day," said Matt Nichols, head coach for Rhinelander boys tennis, which has used the facility for multiple varsity matches so far this season.
For Mosinee softball, that has mostly been true.
As of Wednesday, eight of its scheduled games have been canceled or postponed.
"It's kind of frustrating, especially when we're dressed up and at school and then we get a text that our game is canceled, and then we just have to go home," said Hailey Shnowske, a senior infielder for Mosinee's softball team.
However, they've taken their limited opportunities in stride.
"The girls have been really great. They just know spring season, spring sports, you just have to be ready for anything. Whether it's practicing inside in the gym, they need gym shoes, if they're practicing outside in the dirt versus on the turf field, they just need to be ready," Mosinee softball head coach Kelly Remondini said.
Remondini and Nichols say it's usually around the second week of April where weather trends act more favorably for outside spring sports.
Those who do not have as much indoor flexibility as Rhinelander does will simply keep trying their best with what they have.
"One of our first days out on the dirt field, we practiced fly balls for probably 30-45 minutes because that's something we can't do inside," Remondini said.