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Overly cautious or wise move?

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In the wake of Columbus East’s season-opening football win over Bloomington North that took two days to complete, questions have arisen about the presence and dangers of heat lightning.

The game began on Friday night but was suspended in the third quarter because of lightning. Play was resumed Saturday afternoon, and the Olympians finished off a 42-19 victory.

Many fans thought the game could have been finished on Friday since the lightning was only heat lightning and appeared to be several miles away.

“Our philosophy is to err on the side of caution,” East football coach and athletics director Bob Gaddis said. “We’re not meteorologists. We have lightning detectors that help us decide.”

IHSAA sports information director Jason Wille said game officials and the host school’s administration work together to determine when and if to stop and restart athletic contests.

“That’s a judgment on part of the officials,” Wille said. “They work with the administration on that. That’s something obviously people need to be very cognizant of. That’s certainly something that the officials are responsible for determining what’s in the best interest of everyone involved.”

“The officials have jurisdiction to stop the game,” Gaddis said. “If our administration saw a danger, we could stop the game, also. But we could not restart it. That’s their call.”

The Olympians play at Columbus North on Friday. North AD Jeff Hester said he’s never been associated with a game that’s been stopped for heat lightning.

“I’ve had to postpone events due to thunder or actual lightning, but I’ve never had to for heat lightning,” Hester said.

North to honor golf team

When North hosted East two years ago, Hester arranged for a parachuter to land on the field just before kickoff. He was hoping for a flyover this year, but it didn’t materialize.

“About a year ago, I submitted paperwork for a flyover, and I jumped through all the hoops for that,” Hester said. “But the government said they don’t really do those any longer for high schools. They’re only doing it now for the major events.”

The Bull Dogs will honor their state champion boys golf team between the first and second quarters of Friday’s game.

Prior to the game, there will be a tailgate party with WTHR-Channel 13’s Operation Football. Q-Mix will also be playing music.

North will continue selling tickets for the game from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. today and Friday in its athletic office. Columbus North spirit T-shirts (a royal blue shirt with the slogan “Bull Dog Nation — CN United”) are also available in the athletic office for $5.

Conference meet is Saturday

When the IHSAA moved the cross-country sectional meets up three days this year, some conferences conducting their conference meets during that last week of the regular season began scrambling to move them to earlier dates.

Conference Indiana was one of them. But unlike many conferences who will now contest their meets in September or early October, this year’s Conference Indiana meet will be Saturday at Indiana University.

“The problem for us was, they couldn’t bump it up three or four days and have it be a week before the sectional because that’s when the Marion County meet is,” North coach Rick Weinheimer said. “Then, we just had a lot of discussion. Everybody runs every Saturday, and which one do you give up? So we thought we’d do it this early in the year and see how it plays out.

“It just didn’t feel like there was a very good date, so this was the best compromise,” he said.

While the fifth-ranked Bull Dog girls will be favorites to win their sixth consecutive Conference Indiana title, the sixth-ranked North boys will face a big challenge to win their sixth straight title. With No. 3 Bloomington North and No. 4 Bloomington South in the mix, along with No. 19 Franklin Central and No. 20 Terre Haute South, this will be a loaded boys field.

The girls meet also includes No. 8 Franklin Central, No. 20 Terre Haute North and No. 23 Bloomington South.

With the meet taking place so early in the season, the outcome could come down to which teams had the best summers of training.

“I think there’s certainly a possibility that who would win in October isn’t the team that will win in August,” Weinheimer said.

Saturday’s meet will be the season-opener for the Bull Dogs. Their scheduled dual meet with Martinsville on Tuesday was postponed because of 90-plus-degree temperatures.

Panthers off to fast start

After going 2-11-3 last year, Jennings County’s girls soccer opponents so far this season might have been guilty of overlooking the Panthers.

For the first time in coach Kate Gray’s six years at the helm, Jennings is off to a 4-0 start. The Panthers have have outscored their opponents 16-2.

“They definitely have a competitive edge to them that we haven’t had in several years, and they’re pretty confident in their abilities,” Gray said. “That’s made a huge difference.”

Junior Justine Corya leads the team with six goals, while senior Sydney Kirchner has five. Goalkeepers Maddy Hovious and Mackenzie Byram have combined to allow only two goals in the four games.

Olympians add contests

Columbus East has added boys soccer and girls golf matches to its fall schedule.

The girls golf team will host Bloomington North at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday and play at Bloomington South at 9 a.m. Sept. 6. The boys soccer squad will play at Jeffersonville at 1 p.m. Oct. 4.

East’s volleyball games against Perry Meridian on Sept. 23 and Roncalli on Oct. 9 have been moved to 6 p.m. junior varsity starts, with the varsity to follow. Also, the girls soccer game against Jennings County on Sept. 16 will be varsity-only and will start at 5:30 p.m.

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