Opening day: High school sports teams begin practice seasons

Area squads getting ready for fall campaigns

Reed City soccer and other sports are ready to get going.

Reed City soccer and other sports are ready to get going.

File photo

BIG RAPIDS – It’s like Nov. 15 for deer hunters or the last Saturday in April for trout fishermen.

In this case, it’s Aug 8 and opening day for fall sports athletes, who can practice officially for the first time as they get ready for the fall season. Some sports teams even opened at midnight as a fun way to get going.

Some sports will be starting with actual competition next week already. Football will begin for area teams on Aug. 25 or 26, varsity, or earlier in the week for JVs.

Evart started with its first practice with midnight madness from midnight to 1:30 a.m. The Wildcats were expected to resume 3-6 p.m.

"The first day of practice is always full of excitement and anticipation," Evart coach Pat Craven said. "The kids love Midnight Madness. It brings in a new school year and another opportunity to showcase our growth and hard work over the off season." 

Big Rapids football is set to go for the week, from 5 to 9 p.m. each day. For Morley Stanwood, it’s Monday-Thursday 6-9 p.m.; Friday 6-8 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to noon at the high school stadium.

“I am most looking forward to just getting started for this season,” Reed City Scot Shankel said. “I am looking forward to seeing improvement and just to continue to work as a team.”

During the week, Reed City is have three practices each day: 3-5 p.m., 5:30-7:30 p.m. and 7:45 to 8:45 p.m.

Chippewa Hills is having practice 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday of this week.

“I look forward to getting back on the field and showing the improvements the kids have made since last season,” coach Mark PeLong said. “It’s still a very young team with only three seniors out of 30 players so we have to learn as quickly as possible.”

Up until two years ago, other sports started two days after football, But now they can start at the same time.

“On day one, I always love to see the girls,” Morley Stanwood volleyball coach Robin Kozuch said. I really miss them in the off-season. I also love to see who has been working in the off-season. It is usually pretty apparent who has put in the time.”

Big Rapids golfers are practicing from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday to Friday of this week at Katke Golf Course.

“I'm looking forward to seeing how this young group bonds with each other,” coach Mark Posey said. “We have a lot of new players and it is going to take some time to get everyone adjusted.”

The MHSAA said nearly 95,000 athletes statewide are anticipated to begin practices on Monday, and kick off the Fall 2022 season across nine sports for which the Michigan High School Athletic Association sponsors postseason tournaments.

Teams in girls and boys cross country, football, Lower Peninsula girls golf, boys soccer, Lower Peninsula girls swimming & diving, Upper Peninsula girls tennis and Lower Peninsula boys tennis, and girls volleyball may begin practice Monday. Competition begins Aug. 15 for golf and tennis, Aug. 17 for cross country, soccer, swimming & diving and volleyball, and Aug. 25 for varsity football. Football teams at all levels must have 12 days of preseason practice – over a period of 16 calendar days – before their first game.