SPRINGFIELD — This year’s edition of the Ram Relays, to be held Saturday at Tommy Oliver Stadium, takes on added importance compared to past meets.
Diamond teams and tennis haven’t been the only sports affected by the erratic weather of the past month. Track and field not only has had its season compacted, but an earlier than normal calendar start also has affected teams in the early going.
Those depending on athletes who were still active in soccer and basketball playoffs for both boys and girls have been influenced by runners and field events specialists coming late to the game.
With the Panhandle Open meet postponed from Feb. 23, the Ram Relays will be only the second time competing this season for many track athletes. And in the case of host Rutherford and Bay, who performed in Tallahassee last week, that was with temperatures in the 30s when the meet began.
“We overlapped horribly this year” with winter sports, “so some kids got a late start,” Rutherford coach Anthony Collier said. “With the county meet coming up on Tuesday, we’re looking to get some good times.
“The weather looks like it finally is going to get in the 70s. When we got off the bus in Tallahassee last week it was 33 degrees. So hopefully the kids can compete and have a good time.”
Collier said Thursday that 11 schools have committed for the meet, which begins with field events at 10 a.m., but focuses on relays in the running events more than individual races.
There will be hurdle events in both boys and girls, and distance races at 1600 and 3200 meters.
“We’re excited to have it and keep the tradition going,” Collier said. “We think it’s a great opportunity as a precursor to the county championship at Arnold.
“We’ll have a better chance to see where we are (by comparison) coming out of the field events and relays.”
Admission is $5 and concessions will be available throughout the meet, which annually ends in late afternoon.
Schools expected to compete: Arnold, Bay, Bozeman, Fort Walton Beach, Graceville, Mosley, Niceville, Port St. Joe, Rutherford, South Walton, Wewahitchka.