Hampshire’s new Head Coach Aaron Rule experienced his first day and first practice as the man in charge of the Trojan football squad and as the sun was disappearing behind the mountains on Monday night, one word could describe how Rule was feeling: exhausted.
“The nerves, the late night grind, the early morning wake up call to make sure everything is in place, mentally and physically I am exhausted, but this is my passion and this is my love coaching football and being surrounded by kids”
Conditioning will be a focus during the first week of practice, but Coach Rule is also trying to accomplish a few more things.
“The first week I am trying to set a precedent for what my expectations are for the kids and how hard we are going to work.”
Although the squad is not yet in full pads, the team is practicing twice a day throughout the first week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with single, but longer practices on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Starting next week practice will be held in late afternoon, and that will continue the following week once school is back in session.
The practice gridiron saw 44 kids come out and put on a helmet, which was slightly up from years in the past.
“In terms of numbers, I like where we are at, but I think we can get better. I still want to reach more student athletes and get them to understand the importance of playing multiple sports and being a part of something very special.”
Leading up to the season Hampshire was hopeful to hit the 50 mark, but the 44 kids that are out for the football team are committed and suited up, ready to compete. The Trojans’ first scrimmage is set for Friday, Aug.16 against James Wood in Sunrise Summit starting at 6 p.m.
After an outstanding offseason that included taking home the championship trophy at the 2nd Annual Coldwell Banker Classic in Keyser, the Hampshire Boys Soccer squad is eager to start the season off on the right foot.
According to Head Coach Shawn Healy the top priority of the team is to get everyone up to speed and on the same page in terms of expectations for the season. Coming off a (6-14) season a year ago Coach Healy has the talent and the experience to improve upon last year.
Part of that building process will be integrating the new guys into the system.
“We want to make sure and establish a sound understanding of our formation for the 12 new guys,” explained Healy. The soccer squad starts their season with a scrimmage at home against Keyser on Aug. 13 with kickoff at 7 p.m. in Sunrise Summit.
The Trojan soccer girls endured the hot and humid conditions on Monday morning to begin their pursuit of a sectional championship.
Head Coach Troy Crane is laying the expectations of the team on the shoulders of his returning players.
“The seniors need to take control of their team and demand excellence daily. This is the first year I have had 7 returning senior starters and they must take the bull by the horn. They must demand the best from their team each and every moment.”
While senior leadership is a key aspect in developing young talent, the ability to fine tune footwork skills will also help this team reach their goals.
“We want to establish sound and repetitive fundamental habits in terms of touch and footwork,” said Coach Crane.
The first scrimmage is an away contest against the Knights of Preston on Aug. 15 at 6 p.m.
On Monda, Aug. 19 the girls will play against Musselman in a scrimmage in Sunrise Summit starting at 7 p.m.
One of the athletic strengths of Hampshire High sports is the Cross Country team and this year expectations will remain high, as a talented group of kids will be returning to both the girls and boys teams. Practice this week will consist of a mixture of running at Rocky Gap and Hampshire High.
Head Coach Bill Lipps talked about two things he is trying to accomplish during the first week of practice.
“We are going to figure where we are in terms of conditioning after our summer training program and with our Rocky Gap preseason camp this week we are looking to have some fun and get started off with good group activities.” The Cross Country regular season begins on Aug. 28 at Jefferson High School.
With practice on Monday and tryouts starting on Tuesday, candidates for the Trojan cheer squad are putting forth their best effort this week to impress the coaching staff.
Head Cheer Coach Lisa Meadows spoke about what is taking place inside the Hampshire gymnasium.
“Right now we are just reviewing the things that we taught in June and teaching some new material for our tryouts, and we are hoping to have a WVU cheer camp later in the week to help work on stunts, tumbling, and some other things we can use throughout the season.”
Similar to all other sports getting started this week, being in shape is critical to perform as a cheerleader.
“We condition everyday towards the end of practice,” explained Coach Meadows.
The Trojan netters have one more week of fun in the sun before practice begins next week. o