Holding meet in hot weather was reckless
Thursday, September 20, 2012 3:54 AM
As a parent of a member of the Decorah High School boys cross country team, I write with regard to a meet held on Tuesday, Sept. 4, in Waverly. This is an event in which our Decorah teams competed; it is commonly known as the Dick Pollitt Go-Hawk Cross Country Classic.
The weather conditions on Tuesday afternoon were not ideal for competitive distance running. The National Weather Service recorded this data, collected at the Waterloo Municipal Airport on Tuesday, September 4: at 4:54 p.m. -- a few clouds, 93F, 37 percent RH; at 5:54 p.m. - fair, 93F, 38 percent RH.
While it is a relatively simple matter to collect National Weather Service data for Tuesday, it has proven to be considerably more difficult -- nay impossible -- to collect accurate information concerning actual race conditions at the time of competition, at the site of the competition. Permit me to explain.
As an IHSAA-sanctioned event (Iowa High School Athletic Association), the Go-Hawk Classic is governed by IHSAA rules. According to the IHSAA heat index table, temperature and humidity readings must always be taken in conditions that correspond to the conditions under which competition will take place. Skies in Waverly were partly-cloudy/mostly clear on Tuesday afternoon; the athletes were running in sunny conditions. Hence competition temperature readings should have been taken in direct sunlight. National Weather Service readings reflect air temperature in the shade; if it was 93 degrees in the shade, the air temperature in direct sunlight must have been well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Clearly, it is not enough to check with the National Weather Service: under IHSAA rules, meet management (i.e., officials of Waverly-Shell Rock High School) were obliged to collect weather data under race conditions, on-site, at game time.
I have written to the athletic director at Waverly-Shell Rock, the principal at Waverly-Shell Rock, and the boys cross country coach. And here are the questions I asked these gentlemen:
1. What were the weather conditions on-site when competition began -- what was the recorded air temperature and humidity at game time?
2. I have heard that EMS vehicles were on hand at the site of this meet. I have attended a number of cross country meets over the past three years, and I don't think I have ever seen an ambulance on-site before the meet starts. Is it in fact standard procedure to pre-position emergency vehicles and emergency personnel at cross country meets? If not, who made the decision to bring emergency vehicles and hospital staff to this meet? Why was this done?
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