Simply competing in an outdoor track and field meet has become a luxury for area high schools this spring.
Three weeks after the outdoor season officially began, Durant and Wilton girls track and field became the final area teams to make their debut on Tuesday, just nine days before Drake Relays entries are due.
A forecast calling for a brief period of mild temperatures at the end of this week has spurred a mad rush of scheduling for area coaches.
West Liberty coach Gus Garcia has four meets lined up for his athletes over the next six days, including meets in three consecutive days beginning Thursday. The Comets competed just once outdoors in the first three weeks, a meet last Thursday in Tipton.
"Like I told them, you got to make it count right now," Garcia said about his message to his athletes.
The Wilton boys, Durant girls, Louisa-Muscatine girls and Wilton girls also are members of the one-meet club.
The Muscatine girls track team has been one of the more fortunate teams in the area in terms of experience competing outdoors. The Muskies have competed in three outdoor meets this spring with their most recent coming Saturday at Augustana College, where Muscatine coach Tim Armstrong learned that Decorah had traveled more than three hours south just so it could compete in its first outdoor event.
Other teams from the area that have been lucky enough to compete in three meets include the West Liberty and Columbus Community girls.
With just two meets in the books, Wapello boys track coach Todd Parsons felt fortunate to have had just one night of nice running weather at the Washington Relays toward the end March. A bonus was that his balanced lineup of athletes helped secure team titles at both meets.
But even Parsons said he doesn't believe he's ever experienced a spring like this in terms of challenges the weather has presented.
"Just dealing with the weather issues, it's been obviously challenging for us to get our kids some good workouts and frustrating at the same time," Parsons said. "And if it does go from 0 to 70 degrees, kids aren't going to be acclimated to that either. It's been challenging, frustrating, but it is what it is. Everybody's got to deal with it and make the best out of it until the weather turns nice."
Qualifying for the Drake Relays hadn't even crossed his mind.
"I haven't even thought about Drake, with the weather," Parsons said Tuesday. "We're not really too concerned with that, honestly. We're just trying to get better every day at practice, whether we're inside or outside, and I hope we're going to have a good opportunity to run Thursday at Mount Pleasant. It's going to be a very competitive meet for us, and we're going to see what we can do in a couple of relays."
The Columbus boys, Durant boys, Muscatine boys and Wapello girls have each competed in two meets as well.
Now, weather permitting of course, it's time to play catch up with nine area track and field meet scheduled between now and Saturday.
Rojo breaks through for Comets: After getting shut out in each of its first two games, the West Liberty boys soccer team got a four-goal outing from freshman Luis Rojo in a 6-1 conference win last Thursday at Mid-Prairie.
The rest of the West Liberty team (1-4) has scored a combined two goals in five matches.
The Comets were ranked eighth in last week's IAHSSCA rankings.
Columbus soccer gets first win: The Columbus boys soccer team (1-2) got its first win of the season Tuesday night, a 2-0 road shutout over Central Lee.
Triston Kouffman and Jesus Jimenez each scored goals for the Wildcats while freshman goalkeeper Keagan Atkinson made three saves.