SUNRISE SUMMIT — The sports scene at Hampshire High is now in full gear as the fall 2019 campaign is about to kickoff for several squads.
On the docket for the Trojan kickers this week are a pair of scrimmages starting with a home game against Keyser tomorrow, Aug. 15, at 7 p.m. followed by a road match against Preston on Saturday Aug. 17 at 2 p.m.
Coach Shawn Healy shed some light on what he is looking for from his team.
“I want to see how the new players will mesh with the team and how the older guys have progressed,” said Healy.
“Also I am looking for leaders to stand up and establish themselves as so.”
Getting the team ready for the season can be complex especially when temperatures touch the 90’s.
“I challenge my guys to drink a gallon of water before practice,” explained Healy. “Hydration helps stave off nagging injuries like cramping which are fruitful at the beginning of the season.”
Excited for the season to begin Coach Healy feels confident about his squad.
“I feel we are ready to put on a strong performance as both JV and Varsity squads will be ready to bang.”
Time is on the mind of Coach Troy Crane as he enters the 2019 campaign.
“This fall season more than any other, time management has been the most challenging part,” stated Crane.
“The way the calendar fell this year we have one week of two-a-days compared to the two and a half weeks we normally get.”
One of the concerns for Coach Crane has been making sure his team is in shape and well hydrated as they prepare to play in extreme heat.
“Each year the heat exhaustion risk is a serious issue,” Crane explained.
“All coaches take training courses to educate us on how to keep our players safe. I take the health and safety of my players very seriously,” said Crane.
So what is the top priority heading into the preseason?
“First and foremost we need to establish some continuity with this year’s new club. We need to get a feel for which substitute groupings mesh well together,” said Crane.
“Each year is completely different from the last and I am interested in seeing how this year’s team handles adversity.”
Coach Crane has been very pleased with his team’s attitude and focus for the most part but acknowledges there is still a long way to go to get into soccer shape.
“There are times prior to fatigue setting in that we put connections together and look organized, however, once fatigue sets in we get awfully sloppy.”
The girls kickoff their season tomorrow Aug. 15 with a scrimmage on the road against Preston starting at 6 p.m. followed by a home scrimmage against Musselman on Monday, Aug. 19 with a start time of 7 p.m.
The Trojan long striders spent some time at Rocky Gap last week in preparation for their upcoming season. Training at a place like Rocky Gap allows the team to bond together while undergoing the grueling task of getting into shape. Coach Bill Lipps shed some light on the experience.
“Rocky Gap camping was established by former coach Craig Nething as a way to get the team to know each other better, to give freshman and any new upperclassmen a chance to feel more comfortable with the program in an environment not as intimidating as at the school on the course under the scrutiny of times and harder workouts,” said Lipps.
The most challenging part of preparing for the season is a variety of training methods the runners use throughout the summer.
“Athletes work differently in the summer. Some come in to the preseason in better shape than others. Working in varying practices for the varying degrees of their conditioning from the summer is very challenging,” explained Coach Lipps.
Speaking of temperatures, when long distance runners undergo strenuous workouts what does Coach Lipps recommend?
“Water, lots of water,” Lipps said. “Another smart method is to stay off the asphalt as much as possible and try to run in the shade on the course.”
Part of the allure to Rocky Gap is to become part of the Billy Goat Club, but what exactly is the Billy Goat Club?
Coach Lipps relinquished some of the details of this elusive fraternity.
“It is approximately a 2.5 mile run up Evitts Mountain, all uphill. The club is for those athletes that make it from start to the top without stopping. A strong beginning to creating confidence in young athletes.”
The Cross Country team will continue to train and looks forward to their first date of competition on Aug. 28 at Jefferson High.
The Trojan netters finally started their fall campaign 1 week later than every other fall sport. So why exactly does volleyball start 7 days later than everyone else? Coach Megan Fuller provided a detailed response.
“We absolutely would prefer to begin on the same date as the rest of the fall sports. I asked the question at our rules clinic this year and nobody seems to really have an answer for why we don't. Everyone loves some extra summer vacation, however, it puts us on a different time frame than all other sports and that causes us some struggles with planning, etc.”
This week Hampshire is in the midst of tryouts as the JV and varsity teams will be finalized by Thursday, Aug. 15. During tryouts Coach Fuller is looking for different things depending on the level of athlete.
“For our incoming freshman we look for basic fundamental soundness that we feel we can build a stronger set of skills from,” said Fuller.
“Transition from middle school to high school teams can be frustrating because we are often asking them to make many changes from what they have been doing for the past few years.”
For the upperclassmen Fuller is looking to see skill sets improving while shouldering the load of setting the example for younger athletes.
“At this point in their career we look for athletes that are willing to expand their knowledge of the game even if their skill set is strong.”
Fuller continued, “We expect them to be mentors and help grow the skills and knowledge of their younger teammates. It is important that our varsity players understand that they will need to be respectful of their role on the team and accepting of it even if it is not ultimately their dream position.”
Regardless of age or experience, certain expectations will remain in place including hustle, enthusiasm, leadership, team-first attitude and work-ethic.
The volleyball squad has their first scrimmage of the season at home against East Hardy in Sunrise Summit on Aug. 26 at 7:15 p.m. o