Winter weather washes out Corn Palace Relays for second straight year
The Corn Palace Relays had been a Mitchell High School track and field staple for 69 years, but the meet has been wiped from the schedule by Mother Nature two years in a row.
Mitchell Activities Director Cory Aadland announced Wednesday that the meet—scheduled for Saturday at Joe Quintal Field—would be canceled yet again due to a mid-April snowstorm.
Last year, the meet went by the wayside after more than 16 inches of snow blanketed Mitchell on the scheduled date.
With a brand new track, along with revamped and rearranged jumping pits, Mitchell was set to show off its new facility Saturday before enduring another storm late this week. With the cancellation, the Kernels now have one more meet on their home track this season—the Eastern South Dakota Conference meet on May 11.
"It would have been great to have another big meet to show off the facility," Aadland said. "But there's also the disappointment of not having our kids compete at home in the Corn Palace Relays for the second year in a row. Having all these kids put the time and work in and not being able to compete—especially at home—is disappointing."
Mitchell was able to have a triangular at Joe Quintal Field on Tuesday, creating an opportunity to have a test run for the bigger meets originally planned for later in the season.
There are now boxes located on the inside of the track that enable Mitchell to run its electronic timing system for meets, so the triangular allowed for a test run. Although it won't be needed on Saturday any longer, it helped prepare the staff for the ESD meet.
"We wanted to work any kinks out and see what a meet looks like with this setup so we can make some tweaks," Aadland said. "We found a couple things that we may do slightly different, but ultimately I thought the changes that we made were good."
Aadland inquired about rescheduling the relays last season, but he could not find any room in an already condensed schedule. The meet won't be rescheduled this season either, but Aadland did not rule out potentially setting up a smaller meet at some point this season.
The Kernels have invitationals scheduled for every weekend leading up to the to the state meet on May 24, but if Aadland can find an opening for a home meet, the program will gladly welcome it.
"We tried multiple times last year and it's tough to throw in another track meet when everybody's schedules are set," MHS head coach Joe Shepardson said. "They rely on the meets they have and the dates they don't have, they rely on kids resting. It's tough to plan another meet, but if we were able to sneak another one at our home site, I'd be all for it."
In addition to potentially adding another meet, Aadland also considered moving the relays back next season, but planning around other schools around the state that are hosting and attending invitationals can be tricky.
"You have to be pretty careful about moving that," Aadland said. "You can't move it onto a weekend when another big event is. It's not something I'd say we would never do—because I've actually looked at where it would fit—but the challenge is finding a date that fits into the overall state schedule."