Maranacook/Winthrop pitcher Camdyn Roy throws during a March 21 softball practice in Readfield. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

FAIRFIELD — Preparing for spring sports after a Maine winter is an arduous task for any athletic director. This year, though, that preparation has come right as the weather has been at its worst.

A winter itself that was one of the warmest, driest on record seemed to be the dream scenario for administrators, coaches and players desperate to get outside. Instead, the early days of spring have upended things with one major snowstorm already and another likely to arrive this week. 

“It has been extremely difficult,” said Lawrence Athletic Director David Packard. “Usually, this time of year, you’re saying, ‘OK, maybe by Thursday, we can have the kids out there.’ This year, we’re still waiting for the storms to come; we haven’t even come to the close of the snow yet.”

It’s a development that threatens the start of the 2024 spring sports season and has made arranging practices a challenging task. Some preseason competitions are already in doubt as athletes and coaches are likely to be kept inside, where they’ll be fighting for time in the gym.

Just a few weeks ago, there wasn’t much to be concerned about as the first practices of the season loomed. At just 0.87 inches, the state’s average snowpack from December-February was the third-smallest in the past 40 years, a good recipe for an earlier start on local fields.

Instead, the second official day of spring on March 20 brought significant snow before a larger system three days later dumped 1-2 feet across the region. Now, another 12-18 inches could be on the way as part of a major storm set to arrive Wednesday night and carry into Thursday.


Maranacook/Winthrop pitcher Anna Reay, left, throws to catcher Danika Dunn during a March 21 softball practice in Readfield. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“Right now, it’s looking like we’re not going to be able to take that fly ball for that first game of the season outside,” Packard said. “Our fields were almost ready in March, and now, here we are in April, and you’re looking at maybe a week to a week and a half before we can be on them.”

Messalonskee Athletic Director Chad Foye said his school is in wait-and-see mode on baseball, softball, boys lacrosse and girls lacrosse exhibition games set for later this week. T.J. Maines, athletic director at Cony, said his boys lacrosse play day scheduled for Saturday is in serious doubt.

Although countable competitions are still two or more weeks away, administrators are already doing some contingency planning just in case. Maines and Foye have already held discussions regarding the first regular season baseball game, which is currently scheduled for April 17 in Oakland.

“We’ve been looking at that game and talking about it,” Maines said. “You think about where their baseball field is, it sits at the bottom of the hill, so you’re asking, ‘Is that even going to be ready by then.’ We might have to host that game just because they might not be able to.”

As far as lacrosse goes, schools such as Cony, Messalonskee and Gardiner are in fine shape with turf fields on which to play. The majority of teams, though, are on grass surfaces that will be unavailable until they dry, a process Packard said takes a day for every 3 inches of snow.

With nearly all of the March 23 snowstorm now melted, there are a few days for some teams on turf to get outside this week before another storm blankets the region Thursday. The reality for now, then, is a slate of indoor practices — especially given the oh-so-common April rain that could also be around the corner.


“You’ve just got to deal with it and do what you can,” Foye said. “The good thing is that we still have a couple weeks of the preseason, so you can do some shuffling around. That’s basically what everybody’s doing right now, and if we do get a lot more snow Thursday, we’ll adapt and go from there.”


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His son is off to play college baseball next year — and after one last run together with Mount View this spring, Brandon Hurd, too, will be leaving.

Hurd is entering his final season as head coach of a Mustangs team led by his son, Noah, a Husson University commit. Once the younger Hurd exchanges his Mount View green and gold for the same colors at Husson, his father will be doing the same from the stands.

Mount View boys basketball coach Brandon Hurd encourages his payers during a Feb. 15 practice in Thorndike. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

“It’s been a lot of fun, but this is going to be my last year coaching high school baseball,” said Hurd, who will coach his fourth season with the Mustangs in 2024. “I’ve thought about it, and I really want the ability to watch Noah in college, and that’s hard when you’re coaching.”

Noah Hurd has been one of Class C North’s most consistent hitters in recent years, batting .547 in 2022 and .519 last year. He’s also been a strong pitcher for Mount View, having posted 77 strikeouts to just five walks and recording a 0.60 earned-run average two years ago. 

Brandon Hurd, who is 32-23 at Mount View with a Class C North title game appearance in 2022, still plans to coach the school’s boys basketball team next winter. The Mustangs went 16-7 this year, winning the program’s first regional championship since 1987.

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