As school resumes this week, so does a new year of high school sports. Marian Central Catholic High School, Woodstock High School and Woodstock North High School kick off the fall 2017 sport season with girls tennis, swimming, volleyball and golf, and boys soccer, golf and football. The fall season of cheer and dance also begins.
Tryouts, if necessary, have been held, and practice for most sports began for all schools last week. Each has hosted a parent/player fall sports night, covering the basics such as physicals and athlete conduct and offering motivation for the upcoming year.
Marian Athletic Director Curtis Price said freshman parents have the biggest adjustment to make, such as daily practices for their athletes and tryouts with cuts for some sports.
“It’s a big shock for students, too,” he said, since many students who attend Marian have played against each other as students at various area Catholic grade schools. “Now in high school, we’re asking them to come together as a team.”
WNHS Athletic Director Brady Stromquist said he talked at parent/player night about getting students to be involved in their school. He said he told them, “We can do great things if we believe in it.”
This fall will be the first season for Chris Kirkpatrick, the new athletic director at WHS. “It’s always fun to start somewhere new and learn the flavor of the school,” he said, adding, “I’ve already become aware of the tradition here.”
All the schools are reporting the overall number of athletes coming out for a fall sport are good; however, all have noticed a decline in the number of students coming out for football over the past few years. Possible reasons for the decline include concern regarding the seriousness of concussions in the sport and a decrease in participation in youth football leagues.
All schools encourage parents, alumni and community members who wish to support sports at any of the schools to consider joining the respective backers booster clubs for each school.
Marian welcomes the following new coaches: Benjamin Winkelman – girls tennis; Art Dixon – boys soccer; and Patty Brummond – girls volleyball head coach.
Brummond, previously an assistant coach, is coming into the volleyball program on the heels of advancing to the state championship game the past two years. Price said he is looking forward to Brummond making her own mark and the students are happy about having a familiar face as a head coach.
Because of low underclassmen numbers, the `Canes will not field a sophomore football team and soccer will only have a junior varsity and a varsity team.
“I’m excited about this upcoming year in sports,” said Price, who is beginning his second year as the AD at Marian. “We have a great group of student athletes.”
Homecoming for the Hurricanes will be Friday, Sept. 29, when they take on St. Viator at Harding Field.
Aside from a new AD, WHS only has one personnel change in the fall coaching staff, as Matt Warmbier takes over as head soccer coach. Kirkpatrick reported a significant increase in the number of students who came out for soccer this year and that tryouts were necessary.
Special events for the Streaks this fall include plans to honor the 1997 WHS state champion football team at homecoming Friday, Sept. 27, and hosting the First National Bank Challenge game against crosstown rival WHNS Friday, Oct. 13.
“Our program is one that honors the tradition of WHS,” said Kirkpatrick. “We want to represent our school and community … and we want to win some, too.”
Three new coaches join the WNHS staff this year: Eric Schulze – volleyball; John Liuzzi – boys soccer; and Bart Zadlo – girls tennis.
Because of the mix of athletes this year, Stromquist said volleyball will consist of a freshman, JV and varsity team, with no sophomore team.
Stromquist is hoping to gain additional athletes following freshman orientation Aug. 16.
As a relatively young school, the oldest WNHS alumni just celebrated their five-year anniversary. Stromquist said he has been working with the boosters to discuss how to start drawing on the alumni.
“We’re really trying to build and establish a history by continuing to improve, program-wide,” he said.
The Thunder will take on Johnsburg Friday, Sept. 29, in their homecoming game.
Three fall sports – boys and girls golf and girls swimming – are co-ops, combining students from WHS and WNHS into one team. Everyone involved in boys and girls golf is excited that Bull Valley Country Club is the new home course. On Thursday, Aug. 17, co-op golf will host the Woodstock Invitation, inviting teams from 14 schools.
Both WHS and WNHS will host multiple sport scrimmages Friday, Aug. 18, at their respective sports venues.