Teams conduct 1st official practices for winter season
Although some high schools throughout the WPIAL are still in the midst of the fall sports season with football and soccer playoffs, many schools have turned the page and are looking ahead to the winter sports season.
Friday marked the opening of the winter season as wrestling, swimming and basketball teams were allowed to hit the courts, mats and pools for the first official practice day of this season.
“The first week of practice really sets the tone for the season,” Southmoreland wrestling coach Ryan Shaw said.
After spending the past seven seasons as a junior high coach at Greensburg Salem, Shaw is beginning his first job as a varsity coach.
“I'm excited about it,” Shaw said, noting that with the official start to the season, things will ramp up in a hurry. “Conditioning doesn't change that much, but the biggest thing now is getting the boys on the mat and going over the philosophies we are trying to teach them.”
Shaw also noted that the first few days of practice are a time when athletes join the team after reenergizing from a fall sports season such as football.
“We'll get them introduced to the team and to myself and the coaches and go over rules and regulations,” Shaw said.
Peyton McIntyre is a multisport senior athlete at Geibel, and she always enjoys the start of a new season.
“It's my last first day, and I really want to make the most of this season,” McIntyre said while taking a quick break from the Geibel girls basketball team's first official practice of the season. “It's a new beginning. It's something new.”
McIntyre played on Geibel's volleyball team, which qualified for the WPIAL Class A playoffs during the fall season. She noted that the transition from one sports season to the next isn't always easy, but she's anxious to begin the basketball season.
“After volleyball season ended, I was able to go home after school,” McIntyre said. “It felt different and nice, but now I'm ready to go.”
At Connellsville, second-year swim coach Marie Nedley has used the weeks leading up to practice as a learning period. Now, she expects the team to be ready to roll.
“We have been conditioning since Oct. 22 and during the first two weeks of conditioning, we have them learning the different strokes,” Nedley said. “Now that mandatory practices have started, we'll go a lot harder.”
Wrestling, basketball and swim teams can conduct their first scrimmages of the season Friday.
All the winter sports teams can compete in their first official matches, meets and games of the season Dec. 7.
Jason Black is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-626-3534.