Spring sports practices begin free of winter’s ice and snow
Even though it’s still technically winter, it almost felt like spring outside this past week.
Nobody was happier with that development than spring sports coaches at Tonganoxie High.
The first week of practices got under way March 1 and from the track, to the diamond and all places in between, Chieftain coaches were nearly beside themselves because frigid temperatures weren’t limiting their workouts.
“The best thing about the first week was the improvement of the weather,” said THS boys track coach Phil Williams, noting that only throwers and jumpers were limited at practices. “The previous week, we were discussing what we were going to do for practice with everything covered with ice and snow. Early in this week, it was a little cool, but the runners were able to work outside in the sunshine.”
Girls track coach Chris Weller said he was glad to see the weather cooperate and allow most of the athletes to get outside five straight days.
“It was a little cool but the kids didn’t gripe that much,” he said.
Although Tonganoxie golf coach Jared Jackson had newcomers to the team work indoors on fundamentals, those with varsity experience took advantage of the relatively warm conditions.
“In spite of the long winter we were able to get our returning players on the course the first week, which was a pleasant surprise,” Jackson said.
However, all playing fields weren’t on equal footing. Chieftains baseball coach Phil Loomis said his team spent plenty of time indoors.
“We know that the first week will be tough being inside as much as we were but the players showed great concentration and got some little things done like bunting and baserunning techniques,” Loomis said.
The girls soccer team, too, did a lot of work inside and practiced in the elements just two days last week.
“It was a little sloppy, so it was hard to get a good feel for how things usually are,” said coach Ken Lott, who noted the Chieftains worked on shooting, heading, running and other basics.
All of the coaches were feeling positive about their teams as they prepared for their upcoming schedules.
“We return many strong performers from last year,” Williams said. “The long sprints, the relays, pole vault, discus, 300 hurdles and triple jump should be very tough, and we should score in many other events, also.”
Weller was feeling good about the girls track team as well.
“I think we’re gonna get everybody out who came out last year and we’ve got some freshmen and some new upperclassmen,” he said.
THS softball coach Lee Matzeder said he didn’t know yet exactly how his varsity lineup would look but was excited to have nine returning players as he embarks on his first year as the team’s head coach.
Jackson noted that the golf team was facing a positive challenge with 27 players trying out.
“Finding adequate practice time and facilities for everyone will continue to be a hurdle,” he said.
Loomis was encouraged by early conditioning results from the baseball team.
“Our mile times on Monday (March 1) were good, which meant that there seems to be a very positive attitude to start the season on the right foot,” the coach said.
Lott said he was looking forward to the season with anticipation and a little nervousness.
“That’s just the way I am,” he said. “We have a good core of girls that were competing on the varsity level coming back.”