Track tradition canceled for wild weather

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MISSION, Kan. --   This unseasonal cold weather is affecting outdoor sporting events of all kinds. That includes the Shawnee Misison North Relays, which has been a tradition at the school for 63 years.

When Shawnee Mission North High School Athletic Director George Sallas woke up this morning, he says he found a thin layer of snow all across this stadium. It was due to be the site of this year's edition of the Shawnee Mission Morth Relays, just as it has been since Harry S. Truman was in the White House.

"It's the first time it's ever been canceled," Sallas said.

Sallas says snow and rain turned portions of the playing surface into a soggy mess, and it's just too dangerous for athletes to use.

"You never think snow and cold will be a factor in the first of May," Sallas said. "This year is a little different."

Athletes from 35 schools were due to compete at the event. Sallas says the North Relays are viewed as being special, since athletes from three high school classes compete for the same honors.

"They know this is one of the most competitive meets in Kansas," Sallas said.
Jason Foster is among the disappointed runners.

"It's a sad day for the running community as a whole," Foster said.

The Shawnee Mission North Senior knows many athletes who compete here need the exposure to attract college scholarship offers.

"Whenever I look on my Twitter feed now, I see people talking about North Relays and they're not even track athletes," Foster said. "They'll say 'I was really looking forward to going out to North Relays.'

Sallas says there's no opportunity to reschedule this year's event, since Kansas track and field programs already have loaded schedules, and state regionals are coming up in just two weeks.

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