While classrooms will remain empty for a couple more weeks local high school fields and courts welcomed students back for the start of the 2019-20 school year.
Monday marked the official start date for a majority of high school sports while the two county football programs began their seasons the week prior.
Last season’s District II Class 2A runner-up Susquehanna began their heat acclimation week with Coach Kyle Cook looking to replace a large number of seniors that were integral to the Sabers success.
“We really had a good week and it gave us a chance to evaluate where our sophomores are at,” said Cook, referring to his large sophomore class that will be expected to move up from the junior varsity ranks and fill important positions vacated by graduation.
The Sabers will also have a new face taking a lead position on the field, as junior Garrett Decker moves from running back to quarterback to replace two-year starter and four-year letterman Canyon Stone.
The Sabers began working in full pads Monday in preparation of their home scrimmage scheduled for Saturday against Athens at 10 a.m.
The Montrose Meteors kicked off the William Sandley-era as the seasoned assistant coach began his first year as a varsity head coach.
Sandley’s young Meteors pleased their coach with their effort and concentration to detail during the week.
“I was encouraged by what I saw,” said Sandley. “We’re always evaluating, whether it’s technique or the body language as they walk up to the field.”
With just over 20 players attending the first week of camp Sandley knows everyone on the team is going to be fulfilling a role and with low numbers in the junior and sophomore classes the Meteors are going to be relying on some freshmen to contribute in their initial high school campaigns.
Another thing Montrose was able to accomplish the first week was naming seniors, Ethan Cina and Brendan Kanna, as team captains.
Cina begins his third year as the team’s quarterback and Sandley was impressed by his commitment and leadership during the offseason and the first week of camp.
“Ethan Cina has worked his butt off since day one,” noted Sandley.
Due to his commitment to the Meteor wrestling program, Kanna was unavailable for the beginning of the Meteors’ offseason weight training but since he was able to join the offseason work, Sandley said the senior running back has blossomed.
“(Brendan) really stepped it up,” said Sandley. “He’s really emerged as a leader and guiding the underclassmen on how to do things.”
Montrose finishes their two weeks of preseason camp with an 11 a.m. tri-scrimmage with Towanda and Nanticoke at home.
Due to scheduled second week opponent Holy Cross discontinuing their football program, Montrose fans will not be able to see their team on their home field again until September 27.
While football players were the first to officially hit the practice fields this fall, area golfers will be the first to compete as the Boys Jackman Memorial Tournament will kick off the season on Friday and league match play will begin Monday. The Girls Jackman will commence on Tuesday. Elk Lake’s Chloe Sipe and Taegan Mills will lead the Lady Warriors who look to defend their District II title.
At Mountain View the boys’ soccer team began practice with the return of Roger Thomas at the helm.
Thomas who led Mountain View to the 2012 Class A state championship replaces Joe Scanlon who resigned two weeks ago after accepting a teaching position in the Nazareth School District.
A new face will also be on the field in Montrose where Harrison Williams takes over the reins from Jenton Esworthy as coach of the defending District II Class A girl’s champions and looks to fill a lineup that graduated all-state player Maddie Gilhool and several other key graduates.
In girls’ volleyball Blue Ridge takes the court looking to challenge for a divisional title and seek its sixth straight District II Class A title. The Lady Raiders are led by Hunter Heeman who posted a breakout season on the court as a sophomore.