Poor air quality forces high school sports postponements

Many local prep sports teams opened their seasons Tuesday.

But others will have to wait a bit longer than anticipated to get underway.

At least 11 local varsity sporting events were postponed Tuesday due to the smoky air that flooded Snohomish County from the numerous wildfires raging across the state.

“We’re just being cautious,” Mukilteo School District athletic director Beth VanderVeen said of postponements involving Kamiak and Mariner teams. “Between the heat and the smoke, it’s just not worth it.”

Edmonds School District athletic director Julie Stroncek and other local athletic directors monitored the air quality online throughout the day. The Lynnwood area had some of the worst air quality in the county, prompting Stroncek to postpone all of the district’s outdoor home sporting events as a safety precaution.

“This is the first time I’ve ever had to cancel something (due to) air quality,” Stroncek said.

Local athletic directors are plenty familiar with rescheduling events due to rainouts, but Tuesday’s air quality-related postponements were certainly a rarity.

“First match in the fall when it’s 90 degrees outside — and we canceled it for air quality,” said Glacier Peak athletic director Kevin Judkins, referring to the postponement of the Grizzlies boys tennis team’s season-opening match. “That’s an unusual one.”

Glacier Peak’s fall sports teams were still scheduled to practice Tuesday, but Judkins said he met with all of his coaches in the morning to make sure they took precautions such as adequate hydration and rest, especially with temperatures hovering around 90 degrees.

VanderVeen said that Kamiak and Mariner teams took a similar approach.

“They are still practicing,” VanderVeen said. “But it’s up to each coach to monitor both for heat — we want to follow heat and hydration protocol — as well as for smoke.”

Stroncek said she is optimistic that the poor air quality won’t linger and affect sporting events later in the week.

“Obviously, we’re at the will of nature,” Stroncek said. “But from what we’ve been seeing, they’re saying that it’s supposed to be better by (Wednesday). We’re hoping that it’s a one-day thing.”

The following girls soccer matches were postponed: Kamiak at Meadowdale, Marysville Getchell at Lynnwood, Mariner at Granite Falls, Mountlake Terrace at Kingston, Shorecrest at Lakeside and Cedarcrest at Liberty.

The following boys tennis matches were postponed: Mariner at Meadowdale, Shorewood at Kamiak, Marysville Pilchuck at Mountlake Terrace, Shorecrest at Glacier Peak and South Whidbey at Seattle Academy.

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