WORTHINGTON -- It’s tempting to say that the very first practice day for fall high school varsity athletic teams went off without a hitch.
That would be more or less true.
If these things are measured according to moods, the moods were quite favorable in Worthington.
The football team began practicing under an overcast sky on Monday and the temperature was cool. Players, who will pant under a hot sun at some point prior to opening day, were comfortable and in good spirits. Running their sprints and twisting their hips from side to side under the direction of their coaches, they were vocal -- shouting encouragements to each other, making it clear that they were all too happy to be there to welcome a new season.
There will be some adjustments to make, however.
“These chin straps suck,” said one, tugging on his helmet.
They were instructed to go to their stations. Never mind if you’re not sure where you’re headed.
“If you don’t know where to go, go somewhere. We’ll tell you where to go,” said defensive coordinator Scott Barber.
The first practice of the day was at 7:30 a.m., and it was at the middle school tennis courts where the WHS girls team will ply its trade soon enough. The team’s first regular season match is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 20, at Waseca.
Problem was, there was no real practice for the Trojan girls Monday morning. It had rained about an hour earlier, the courts were still wet, and head coach Mike Marquardt spent his time discussing the usual first-day team rules and regulations.
Marquardt finished the morning juggling a large handful of scribbled notes from the girls, supplying him with relevant information he’ll need to keep within arm’s length during the season. On the plus side, the courts have been undergoing a resurfacing since last week, and for the girls it will be just like getting to perform on brand new courts this fall.
On to volleyball. No problems with wet surfaces inside the Worthington High School gymnasium, newly waxed and gleaming.
Before practice began in earnest, recruits met under the nets. There were a few yawns, and then they lined up in a semi-circle for “the talk” by head coach Jessica Hogan. A few minutes later, they were asked a question.
“Are you ready to run?”
They jogged around the gym, stopped, went to the floor and loosened their limbs. Eventually, their tennis shoes began to squeak on the shiny floor as they were handed volleyballs to hit, set and throw.
By 10 a.m., when the girls soccer players were set to work out behind the high school, the weather was warming. The sun was out. Temperatures rose.
Approximately 35 players showed up, but there will be more. Several other hopefuls were unable to practice because they hadn’t had their paperwork filled out yet. It will come.
Soon after the girls tennis team begins its regular season on Aug. 20, the other Worthington teams will get their seasons under way. The volleyball team opens Aug. 22 at Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda. The boys and girls soccer teams open on the same day, with the boys hosting Mankato Loyola and the girls traveling to play Loyola.
The boys and girls cross country teams travel to Mountain Lake on Aug. 28. And the football team goes on the road to play Luverne on Aug. 30.