While Bradley Central will travel to the north end of the county to face Walker Valley in “The Stable,” action by the Cleveland City School Board Monday evening shut down the Raider Dome for the foreseeable future due to safety concerns.
“We are moving tonight’s games (with Soddy-Daisy) to Cleveland Middle School and we could be there the for the whole season,” explained CHS athletic director Eric Phillips this morning. “It’s a day-to-day at this point. We are still trying to work out what we are going to do (until the Dome is either repaired or replaced).”
After a report from structural engineers, the school board closed the Raider Dome — and its basement classrooms and locker room facilities — to all students beginning this morning. Coaches and teachers have until Jan. 6 to remove their items, at which time the building will be sealed off (see related story, Page 1).
Today’s District 5-AAA opening games against Soddy-Daisy are slated to begin at 3:30 at CMS with two junior varsity games, while the varsity teams will tip off at 6 p.m.
While the Raider wrestling team won’t be affected as much since it has a separate facility across the parking lot from the Dome, the basketball squads will have to find a new place to practice and hold games for the time being.
“We have a very good facility at Cleveland Middle, which has a regulation floor and actually has a larger seating capacity than the Dome,” Phillips added. “We also have the luxury of an auxillary gym (the old CMS gym) at the high school, which the volleyball team uses. It, too, has a regulation floor, so it can be used for practice, but the seating capacity isn’t large enough for high school basketball games.”
Phillips also pointed out there are several elementary schools in the city system that have gyms that can utilized for practice, if needed. “We’ve got plenty of places to take care of practice. We’ll do whatever we need to do to make sure the teams can play their games as well as practice. We’re Raiders. We’re going to line up and get it done.”
Other than a pair of freshmen basketball games between Bradley and Cleveland Thursday evening, which will be played in the auxiliary gym, tonight’s basketball games were the only ones slated for the Dome until Dec. 17. The annual Cleveland Duals wrestling tournament, which is planned for Dec. 14, will have to be moved to a different location.
For the second straight year, Bradley and Walker Valley open district hoops play against each other in a highly anticipated showdown of teams expected to be in the thick of the 5-AAA race.
The Lady Mustangs are 3-1 on the young season, while the three-time defending district champion Bearettes are 5-1. Meanwhile the boys teams are looking to get on more steady footing as the Mustangs have won half of their four games, while the Bears have struggled with a 1-4 start to the new campaign.
Both programs will continue district play Friday evening as Bradley travels to McMinn County, while Walker Valley visits Ooltewah. Cleveland’s varsity basketball is not scheduled to play the rest of the week.
The wrestling season continues this week with seventh-ranked Bradley hosting Red Bank and Heritage in a tri-match this evening at Jim Smiddy Arena, and will do the same Thursday as sixth-ranked McCallie and McMinn County pay a visit. Action will begin at 5 p.m. both evenings.
Ranked No. 1 in the first state poll of the season, Cleveland’s matmen will host their annual showdown with fifth-ranked Soddy-Daisy Thursday at 7 p.m.
Walker Valley’s wrestlers will travel to third-ranked Baylor this evening at 6, plus host East Ridge Thursday at 7 p.m.