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  • Last modified 24 days ago (Aug. 31, 2017)

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Teams practice in milder August heat

Staff writer

About a dozen Marion High School football players stripped off their shoulder pads and helmets and jumped in a water-filled stock tank after Thursday’s practice.

The temperature was in the mid to low 80s — several degrees cooler than the yearly August average high in the low 90s, but the sun still blazed.

Fall sports practices started with comparatively mild afternoon temperatures this August.

Football coach Grant Thierolf said the cooler temperatures made summer workouts more comfortable.

“Everybody likes it,” he said. “The coaches like it, the players like it, the trainers like it. It’s just more comfortable.”

On the volleyball courts, cooler temperatures made for a cooler gym, coach Brea Campbell said.

“We don’t turn on the AC until we play here; that’s usually about a month without having AC,” she said. “The fact that it’s only been 80 has really cooled this place down.”

But a warm practice experience will better prepare the team for hot games in gyms without air conditioning, Campbell said.

“They’re going to play in conditions that are very uncomfortable anyway,” she said. “Sometimes it is very helpful to actually have them play in a gym that’s hot and uncomfortable. Last year we played in Moundridge, and they have a gym that’s not air conditioned at all. We played there on a day that it was 95 degrees. It was the hottest thing ever. Those girls were dying — they had to push through it.”

Cross country coach Dmitry Bucklin said humidity and the heat index still make running difficult, even if the mercury is lower in the thermometer.

“With humidity, with the air being thick and heavy, breathing — at least for me — that’s definitely an issue,” he said. “Just the fact that you can’t really escape it.”

The heat, though, can be mitigated by running in areas with better shade.

“It’s just part of Kansas weather,” Bucklin said. “Athletes are pretty acclimated to the weather.”

Thierolf said the heat will still affect the players.

“By this time, the fourth day — your seventh practice of the week — kids are sore,” he said. “Everybody’s going to be fighting through the grind of it because it’s still two weeks until the first game. It does help when it hasn’t been scorching.”

Bucklin said the cross country team will use the pool at the Sports and Aquatic Center for workouts about once every two weeks.

Treading water uses a similar motion to running, he said.

“It’s a good way to give your muscles a similar workout, but it’s a little bit easier on the feet because you’re not doing that pounding,” he said.

Swimming also helps develop a stronger upper body.

“You’re only as fast as your arms can swim,” Bucklin said.

Last modified Aug. 31, 2017

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