Sailor athletes return for fall

Football team scrimmages today

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— After the paperwork-heavy first week of the fall sports season, Sailors head football coach Mark Drake likely will be more than ready to hear the helmets bang and shoulder pads pop during today's scrimmage.

The Steamboat Springs High School tennis team will step onto the court at the Tennis Center today for the first match of the season. The Sailors will host Kent Denver in a match at 11 a.m. It will be the squad's first match of the 2000 season and the first of three home matches. The Sailors also will host Thompson Valley at 9 a.m. Aug. 26 and Poudre that same day. The team's only other home match will come on Sept. 23 when the Sailors host Ponderosa at the Tennis Center.

"Nobody looks forward to the first week," Drake said as he walked out of the high school earlier this week. "You have hundreds of things to get done before you can start to concentrate on the reason we are all out here football."

Now that much of the administrative stuff is over, Drake can concentrate more on getting his players out on the field in game situations. Today's scrimmage is set to start at 10:45 a.m.

"The players looked good in the tests we had in the weight room, " Drake said. "I think we will have a pretty good team this year."

The Sailors, who started hitting Thursday, also are scheduled to play in a three-way scrimmage in Summit County on Aug. 26. Teams from West Grand and Summit County will participate.

In addition to football the volleyball, soccer, boys tennis, boys golf, dance and cheerleading squads all reported for practice this week.

"I really like these two weeks," volleyball coach Wendy Hall said. "I haven't had to start teaching yet, so all I really have to think about is volleyball. It's the same thing for most of the students. Most of them have already left their summer jobs and they don't have to worry about school yet."

Hall said she likes to test her players during this period. It's a chance for some athletes to move up and prove they have what it takes to play at the varsity level.

"We play a lot of (inter-squad) tournaments designed to rank the players," Hall said.

Hall likes the first week because the players are fresh and competitive as they make a run for spots on the team.

"The trick is to keep this energy for the entire season," Hall said.

Sailor volleyball player Ashley Rogers agreed with her coach following the team's first practice day.

"It was good to get back in the gym and start playing again," Rogers said. " I think we are going to have a good season and everyone on the team is ready to get going."

The football, volleyball and soccer teams pounded through two-a-day practices this week in an effort to polish up the basics and get back in shape. The cross-country, tennis, dance and cheerleading teams also started meeting. The golf team already was on the road, competing in a tournament in Grand Junction on Tuesday and Cedaredge on Wednesday.

More than 200 students have signed rosters to play fall sports this year.

Football led the charge with its biggest turnout ever 82 players. There also are 46 boys out for soccer; 31 girls on the volleyball court; 20 golfers swinging clubs; 16 boys tennis players practicing; 10 cheerleaders trying out and 25 runners on the cross-country team.

To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail jrussell@amigo.net

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