Smoke decided to roll into Moscow and settle in nicely on the Idaho campus Wednesday. If the Northwest wildfires continue to rage, then the smoke won’t be going anywhere soon, which could lead to problems for Idaho athletics.
In fact, the poor air quality has already impacted the soccer team. The Vandals were scheduled to play Washington State this past Sunday night in Pullman, but due to air quality concerns, the game was moved to Monday night.
Idaho hosts New Mexico State 5 p.m. Friday at Guy Wicks Field, and if the air quality index value is in the unhealthy region or worse, then the game could be cancelled, postponed or perhaps even moved to the Kibbie Dome.
As for the football team, it’s a good thing it plays in a dome.
The Vandals open their season against Ohio Thursday night at the Kibbie Dome, where it’s a little tougher for smoke to settle in the stands and on the playing field.
If smoke continues to stay around until Thursday, it will probably be present at the Dome, but probably not enough to put the players, coaches, fans and anyone else in the Dome at risk.
Vandal football fans should just be grateful their team plays indoors, because if they played outside under the sun, you never know how bad the fires will be next week and if that smoke will carry over to the Palouse, impacting the game.
It will be interesting to see how the Washington State-Portland State football game pans out as the two teams play each other Sept. 5 in Pullman. The game is about a week away, so a lot can change in that time, but that would be a huge disappointment if the Cougars didn’t take the field Sept. 5.
Cross country is a sport that you would think the athletes are suffering the most from the smoky atmosphere. The Idaho cross country teams will open their season at the Washington State Invitational Tuesday in Colfax, Washington.
I’m not sure where or if the cross country teams have been practicing this week, but hopefully it wasn’t outside on Wednesday. A sport in which the goal is to run as hard and as fast as possible is not one suited for the smoky conditions.
Hopefully, the smoke clears enough so the WSU Invitational isn’t cancelled for the athletes and coaches’ sake. I am sure the athletes are ready to compete against other people besides their own teammates and the coaches are looking forward to seeing how their teams stack up against other schools.
The smoke hasn’t done the athletes any favors this week, but let’s hope it clears quickly so no games or events are cancelled.
Garrett Cabeza can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @CabezaGarrett