Steamboat Springs Students, get those alarm clocks ready.
The high school winter sports season kicks off bright and early Wednesday morning, when teams are first allowed to practice. Much to the dismay of sleepy-eyed teenagers across Routt County, area teams don't seem to want a moment of potential practice time to slip away.
"I'm very excited to get going," Hayden boys basketball coach Mike Luppes said. "I've been very pleased with the kids' effort and their excitement. We're ready to go."
Luppes is entering his first season as the Hayden athletics director and the boys team coach, all just several months after he stepped down as the district superintendent.
He first took charge of the team last week during a preseason camp, but he said there's still plenty of work that needs to be done in regard to basketball fundamentals. He plans to start the process early. Practice will begin for the boys at 6 a.m. Wednesday, and the girls team gets its turn at 6 p.m.
"Areas we need to work on right away are a lot of the basic skills, developing a court sense and reducing turnovers," he said. "I am pleased with the progress made in the short time we've already had."
The process will be similar for David Bruner, who will begin his first season coaching the Soroco girls team. Practice in Oak Creek beings at 6:45 a.m.
"The main thing: We want to get the girls used to shooting the ball a lot more than they have in the past," Bruner said. "We want to get them used to working really hard for us and trying to turn this thing around and start winning."
The Soroco boys, coached by Sam McLeod, will go at 4 p.m.
Across the county, the Hayden wrestling program also will start its season at 4 p.m.
"It will be a lot of conditioning," Tigers coach Ty Zabel said. "We'll have some new blood this year, so we'll start with the fundamentals and work on conditioning. It will be a lot of hard work, but that's just what wrestling is."
The Steamboat boys basketball team will start regular practice at 2 p.m., with the girls kicking off later at 4 p.m.
"We will have a lot more focus on our offensive and defensive schemes," Sailors boys coach Luke DeWolfe said Friday after a week of work during preseason camp. "It's been great so far. The kids have been working hard and responding well."
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