The record snowfall in March was exactly what drought-stricken Utah needed, but it sure has been a buzzkill for many high school athletes this spring.

Spring is the busiest season on the high school sports calendar with baseball, softball, track, lacrosse, boys tennis, boys soccer and girls golf all taking place.

The snowy, rainy weather across the state has repeatedly postponed and canceled sporting events, and this week is proving to be much of the same with another big snowstorm pounding much of northern Utah.

Baseball, softball and golf are the sports that have been hit the hardest by the weather. There were 200-plus fewer softball games played this March than last March, while there were roughly 150 fewer baseball games played.

Many regions have yet to hold a girls golf tournament either.

Layton softball coach Kiley Crockett, whose team wasn’t eligible to play in a southern Utah tournament this season, summed up the past month by saying, “We have played one game and it was a region game to start out with because all of our nonregion games have been canceled. And five weeks in the gym gets monotonous to say the least. And we’ve been able to practice on the dirt four times. So yeah, this season has been one for the books for sure.”

By playing in preseason tournaments in southern Utah this spring — some of which were rained out too — quite a few teams around the state have played nearly a full schedule with some creative rescheduling. Not all teams, especially those north of Salt Lake City, have been that lucky because of the record March snowfall.

Despite all the weather issues, the UHSAA issued a statement that state tournaments will proceed as scheduled.

Brighton High’s lacrosse team prepares to play West Jordan after snow was cleared from the field in Cottonwood Heights on Friday, March 31, 2023. High school teams have had several rainouts or snowouts, and too much snow covering fields to play spring sports. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

“The UHSAA spring sports season is proceeding as scheduled, with individual member schools who are affected by weather handling rescheduling issues on a case-by-case basis. The association’s spring state tournaments remain on schedule,” the statement read.

The first state tournaments of the season will kick off April 28 with the first round of the 3A and 2A boys soccer tournament. By then, the weather hopefully will be consistently warmer and drier so the 43 state championships can by awarded by the UHSAA on schedule throughout May leading up to the final championships on May 27.

Roy baseball coach said Monty Vorwaller, whose team has played just four of its nine scheduled games — all in St. George — said there have been numerous challenges this season associated with the wild weather.

“The biggest challenge has been trying to get our field in a safe, playable condition. As soon as we are almost ready, we get another storm and have to start all over, which requires us to spend hours of additional time and money on field maintenance, supplies such as infield mix, conditioners and clay,” said Vorwaller.

“Another big issue we’ve been facing is finding enough space to safely hold practices. We’re limited to using two balconies in our main gym and one batting cage in our lower gym. We’ve had to be inside and sharing the space with so many other spring sports, and it has been extremely difficult. Baseball players need room to throw longer distance and we simply don’t have that space.”

A big reason why coaches like Vorwaller and countless others around the state have worked so tirelessly to get games or tournaments in, or find ways to reschedule them, is they know how important it is for the kids.

“A lot of these kids lost seasons to COVID and we don’t want to see them miss anything. These student-athletes work all year for this and we want to make sure they get what they earned,” said Vorwaller.

Ridgeline baseball has been fortunate as the only baseball or softball team in Cache Valley to play home games this season, but coach Justin Jensen said it’s taken a lot of work to get those fields ready.

Jensen added that rescheduling games is a big challenge because of limitations placed on them by districts, lack of bus drivers and umpire shortages, all of which have added to the frustration of the first month of the season.

“The coaches that I have worked with are all fighting to get their games in at all levels. The seniors lost their freshman years because of COVID and now their senior seasons are taking a big hit,” said Jensen. “I do wish the state would look at extending the season two weeks to allow for the games to be played and alleviate some of the pressure. Unprecedented weather call for unprecedented response.”

Ridgeline baseball players built a snowman on Friday, March 31, 2023, after their game was postponed due to weather. | Ridgeline High

For many of the baseball and softball teams that have seen at least half of their games postponed, they are rescheduling many of them later in April and May. Many teams may end up playing four and five games a week — including doubleheaders — late in the season to squeeze in as many regular-season games as possible before the playoffs.

For other spring sports like lacrosse, track and boys soccer, they haven’t been nearly as impacted as the other sports as they can typically play through the wet weather, especially on the turf fields for lacrosse and soccer.

That hasn’t been the case for everyone though. Brighton High has been repeatedly slammed by storms and its girls lacrosse team has played just two of its six scheduled games. Coach Melissa Nash said they’re hoping to make them all up, but the condensed season before the state tournament presents some other challenges.

“The spring weather has been tough. These girls have worked so hard since January to be ready for games and we’ve only played two. We’re forced to have at least three games a week now moving forward which is hard on their bodies and academics with so many long game nights or bus rides,” said Nash.

She said the challenges of rescheduling games and everything that goes along with it can be exhausting, but she’s happy to do it for her players, who naturally just want to play.

“My girls have been champs though. They are taking the changes as they come. Something that spring athletes have grown accustomed to the last few years. It’s gonna be a fast and busy April and May, but we’re ready for it. We’re ready to get on the field and play,” said Nash.

The Olympus High softball scoreboard can be seen reflecting in a pool of water Friday, March 31, 2023. Soggy conditions have forced the postponement or cancellation of numerous high school games this spring. | Deseret News