Gophers sports adjust to snowy conditions

Blizzard warnings have caused several sports at the University to cancel and postpone events.

The sign above the concession stand at Siebert Field gathers icicles during a blizzard on Sunday, April 15. Blizzard warnings and low temperatures have caused several sports at the University to cancel and postpone events.

Alex Tuthill-Preus

The sign above the concession stand at Siebert Field gathers icicles during a blizzard on Sunday, April 15. Blizzard warnings and low temperatures have caused several sports at the University to cancel and postpone events.

Jack Warrick

With blizzard warnings and low temperatures in April, spring sports at Minnesota have to adjust.

The Twin Cities airport is closed amid the snowy conditions. Snow fell 1-2 inches per hour on Saturday, and the temperature in Minneapolis was around 25 degrees Fahrenheit most of the day. 

St. Paul declared a snow emergency on Saturday, while Minneapolis declared one the day after. The National Weather Service reported there was a zero percent chance that the snow would exceed 12 inches in Hennepin County Sunday.

For Gophers softball, the first home series of the season against Illinois was altered to a double-header on March 30 with the third game canceled due to the cold. The next series against Michigan State on the road had a game initially postponed, then canceled, with the teams ultimately playing a doubleheader to get a two-game series in on April 8.

This past weekend in Iowa City, Iowa, the Hawkeyes and Gophers moved the series opener to Thursday night instead of Friday. The team traveled that five-hour drive the morning before the game and blew out the opponent 8-0.

“I thought we did a great job handling our situation and that was getting the late notice to come down and play our series early,” head coach Jamie Trachsel said on Friday. “[They] have to sit on a bus ride and play a game, then turn around and play two more.”

The next two games were supposed to be played on Saturday and Sunday, but due to inclement weather in Iowa and the Twin Cities, the teams played a doubleheader Friday and Minnesota got on the bus back home Friday night.

The football team moved its spring game from Saturday to Thursday in anticipation of the snowfall. Head coach P.J. Fleck said after the spring game that he wanted to commend everyone involved who helped with the day switch.

“It’s a decision that’s made and then everybody looks around and says ‘OK, well, do you know how much work that’s going to be?'” Fleck said after the spring game. “To pull that off within 12 hours takes a lot of people.”

Three teams in the Big Ten recently opted to cancel their spring football games — Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin.

Gophers baseball started its season at U.S. Bank Stadium and played its first 13 games indoors. The team was supposed to start its outdoor season at Siebert Field on April 6 against Penn State but cold weather moved the series to West Lafayette, Indiana, halfway between Penn State and Minnesota. 

On Tuesday, the Gophers were going to play North Dakota State University at home, but that was also postponed due to weather. Then, in hopes of finally getting a game at Siebert field, the Gophers scheduled a last-minute game against Division III Augsburg on Wednesday. But again, it was canceled because of field conditions.

“You feel for the seniors especially since this is their last year,” head coach John Anderson said. “I feel bad for them, but they also know they got to control the things that they can control.”

Rain and mandatory travel curfew stopped the final game of the three-game series at Purdue from being played on Sunday as the Gophers were going to try for the sweep of the Boilermakers.

More snow threatens to cancel a Tuesday home game and a weekend series against Iowa as well.

“There’s nothing we can do about it,” Anderson said. “We don’t get stuck here feeling sorry for ourselves.”

Minnesota also had a two-game series at St. Louis canceled due to weather conditions on April 3 and 4.

Gophers men’s track and field had one of its events in the Twin Cities, the Hamline Invite on April 7, canceled due to weather.

Women’s rowing was on the road versus the Badgers in the Wisconsin Double Dual on April 7, but those races were canceled due to cold weather.

Men’s tennis postponed its final dual of the weekend, slated for Sunday, just a day before the matches were scheduled to start.

Drew Cove and Max Biegert contributed to this report.