Local teams hold first day of practice
Mother Nature doesn't know its time for winter sports.
Even still, area schools held their first day of winter sports practice Monday on a 70-degree November day. Just a few days ago, the Franklin County football season ended on a brisk and windy Friday night.
With a quick turnaround from fall to winter sports, area athletes are beginning to condition for a new season.
"We did lot of fundamentals and quite a bit of conditioning," Shippensburg boys basketball coach Ray Staver said. "Some football players were there, no question the conditioning is different between the two sports."
The Shippensburg football team ended its season on Friday with a tough loss to Solanco in the first round of District 3 playoffs.
"There's a real adjustment," Staver said. "I talked to each one over the weekend and they're battered and bruised up a little bit, but I think mentally it's a more adjustment than it is physically."
There are seven varsity returners for the Greyhounds, who won the Mid Penn Colonial Division last season. Meanwhile, Greencastle-Antrim's girls team will return just three starters form its District 3 Class AAA championship team. But coach Mike Rhine is not worried.
"I can't complain on what we have returning," Rhine said. "We lost a lot of leadership in the locker room, so we will have to fill those shoes."
There will be plenty of opportunity, as 22 girls came out for the first day of practice - the most Greencastle has ever had on the first day, according to Rhine.
"We have a whole slew of ninth graders," he said, adding that he hopes everyone will find their niché and feel comfortable playing with the returning starters.
A large portion of the team had played together on the Blue Devils' girls soccer team, including defending Public Opinion Player of the Year Jenay Faulkner.
McConnellsburg's boys basketball team has high hopes for the season with nine seniors and five juniors returning to the lineup. The Spartans had 20 boys show up for the first day of practice for conditioning and drills. That number was the highest in the last 10 years, according to coach Dane Pollock.
"This is a really special group of athletes," Pollock said. "I've coached these boys since fourth and fifth grade. I won't net depth like this any other time in my career."
Chambersburg's wrestling team also has high expectations for the season with eight returning wrestlers, including seven district qualifiers and two state competitors.
Coach Matt Mentzer, who began his first season as head coach Monday, said he is in the process of recruiting a heavyweight.
"I think we have some very talented individuals that can do some good things state-wide and nationally," Mentzer said. "But we are going to have to add some heavyweights to make some noise at the district level."
Sixteen wrestlers attended the first day of practice, including five freshman varying in size - except for, of course, the big guy.
Chad White, also of Chambersburg, is taking on double duty this season. He is the Trojans boys swimming coach, and this year, he'll lead the girls team, as coach Donnie Miller is on sabbatical.
With 15 boys and 15 girls attending the first day of practice, White is pleased with the array of talent the team has put together.
Chambersburg returns 10 to the boys team, and has a number of freshmen entering the pool with experience from the Chambersburg YMCA Chargers.
"I expect the boys to place a lot higher this year," White said. "But the girls lost a lot of seniors with a lot of experience, so it may be a rebuilding year for the girls, but we are looking to qualify at Mid Penns and Districts."