Local prep teams make preparations for upcoming season | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Local prep teams make preparations for upcoming season

The athletic fields are loaded with hopefuls. The coaches are closely evaluating the talent, making decisions and picking teams.

This can mean only one thing – the fall prep sports practices have opened.

This week marks the beginning of a long autumn campaign for the local high schools.

Both South Tahoe and Whittell are taking aim and preparing for runs at league titles. Before the schools can do that, however, coaching staffs face the task of forming teams and choosing players.

“We had 51 girls out on the first day,” said Julia Peyser, the South Tahoe girls’ soccer coach. “We lost seven seniors, so there’ quite a few openings to fill this year.”

The first couple of days for Peyser and other coaches were spent filling conditioning and filling out paperwork.

“We had a lot of girls in shape – which is good,” Peyser said. “There were 15 girls who ran the mile in under eight minutes.”

High hopes and goals flood the fields and gymnasiums of both schools, but none can be higher than those of Gary Hankoff and his girls’ volleyball squad. Despite coming into this season with a lot of younger players, Hankoff and his staff are impressed with the talent and potential those less-experienced players have shown so far.

“We have more club players than in the past,” Hankoff said. “There are a least 25 players with club experience. There will be a lot of spots up for grabs this season. But we have a great group of talented players who will fighting for playing time throughout the season.”

Because of the lack of players returning to his varsity squad, Hankoff said the heightened competition will create a better team.

“As athletic as we are and if we can take care of the volleyball this season then we’ll be tough this year,” the third-year coach said. “Now that we’ve got our team picked, the girls can battle for playing time, and not just to make the team. This is the deepest group of players we’ve ever had here.”

Both Hankoff and Peyser will be relying a large group of underclassmen to supply the squad with players, something that neither of them are adverse to doing.

“We have a lot of talented sophomores and juniors this year,” Peyser said. “The upcoming classes are phenomenal, which is only good news.”

The football fields are curiously void of colliding bodies, shoulder pads and helmets so far.

That will all soon change as both the Vikings and Warriors will be knocking each other around the gridiron in earnest Thursday.

Whittell football has added enthusiasm because of the return of Gary Lundergreen to the program. The staff is guarded in their expectations so far, as it is hard to get a read on the team without seeing them on the field.

“We had 15 kids show up for the meeting last Thursday,” said Larry Reilly, who will join Lundergreen on the staff. “And probably two-thirds of them haven’t had their physicals yet. So we won’t be getting any serious work done until the end of the week.”

Whether the expectations are high or not, all the fall programs are getting started on the right foot this week.

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