Weather cancels Oregon’s track meet


It is Friday evening on April 26 and instead of sitting in front of my computer writing this, I wish I was at Lander-Loomis Field. That is where the most significant boys track meet of the regular season for northern Illinois small schools would have been taking place.

Actually, with over 20 schools, it is more competitive than a sectional. Unfortunately, inclement weather forced its cancellation, leaving a lot of what-ifs.

Such as how state powers Winnebago, Lena-Winslow and Morrison would fare against defending 1A champ Forreston-Polo in the 400 relay.  Or, sophomore sensation Brady Anderson of Morrison against 200-meter state champ Supreme Muhammad of Winnebago.

The meet would have also featured the top two returning state-placing triple jumpers, several quality distance runners from Newman and Rockford Christian and a ballyhooed pole vault competition between Leo Cardenas of Oregon and Andrew Nuyen of Rochelle. The list goes on and on of the talent that would have been on display.

Oregon also took a huge financial hit with the lost gate and concessions. With other weather cancellations, it only leaves the Hawks with just two boys home meets this season, the fewest in many decades.

Any hope of rescheduling for Saturday went by the wayside with several schools, including Oregon, having prom. There was also a logistics issue of pulling everything together on a different day.

But, all sports are seeing the effects of northern Illinois spring weather. To avoid that, baseball experimented with a summer schedule in the 1970s.

Though the weather was much more preferable, it only lasted for a few years. With school being out for the year, it was discovered that kids lost interest in anything school-related and turned their focus elsewhere.

Another experiment that began in the 1970s was the use of metric measurement at track meets. There was even talk of changing state highway signs to metric.

But, that idea soon went by the wayside, as the average American citizen refused to learn the metric system. Fifty years later, we still like our feet, yards and miles better.

It’s a shame that the governing body for high school track in Illinois still insists on measuring heights and distances in metric. I’ve been around the pole vault forever and still don’t know what a 4.27-meter clearance is. But, that same mark listed at 14-feet, makes complete sense to me.

Most other states measure the good old-fashioned American way. Oh well, there are bigger problems on the local sports scene, such as Freeport Aquin recently informing parents that the school may soon close.

The reasons cited were shortfalls in enrollment and funding. This has been an ongoing story and the Catholic Diocese of Rockford will address the issue this week.

Aquin, which opened 100 years ago, has a proud sports tradition in the NUIC, with three state football titles, two in girls basketball and one in volleyball. When the conference was formed in 1974, it was a charter member.

Pending the results of Byron vs. Dixon in soccer this past Tuesday, Byron (6-1) and Oregon (6-1) were tied for first place in the Big Northern. Close behind is Stillman (5-2), who handed Byron a loss.

The win over Byron gave SV a No. 1 seed in the sub-sectional over the No. 2 Tigers.

Oregon handily beat Dixon, but lost 2-1 to Byron in a very close conference race. That is the Hawks only loss on the season and they will be a No. 2 seed to Rock Island Alleman at the other sub-sectional feeding into the Indian Creek soccer sectional.

Alleman is the defending state runner up. In 1A soccer, the majority of top programs are private schools.

It’s coming down to Dixon and Byron for BNC baseball supremacy, with two games against one another this past week. Coming in Dixon was 15-2 and its only losses were in extra innings. The Dukes have been league champs the last four years, but Byron is poised to take that crown away.

It was a wild and wooly baseball game April 25 between Oregon and Winnebago. While at the pole vault pit for practice, I caught glimpses of ‘Bago batters pounding hit after hit in the top of first inning. Then, Oregon began doing the same thing in the bottom of the first.

After three innings, it was Oregon up 16-9. Seemed like a safe lead, but in a game like this, not really. The Indians scored five runs in the top of the seventh to pull out an 18-17 win.

To their credit, they did outhit Oregon 21-12 and the 35 runs was a higher amount than the total hits.

Andy Colbert is a longtime Ogle County resident with years of experience covering sports and more for multiple area publications.