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Fall sports season set to begin at Quaker Valley, Sewickley Academy

| Monday, Aug. 8, 2016, 12:45 p.m.

With season openers weeks away, Quaker Valley and Sewickley Academy sports teams begin practices Monday.

Eight teams at the two schools each plan workouts, most on their campuses.

Quaker Valley athletic director Mike Mastroianni said fall practices are a “rite of passage” in a new school year.

“It's an exciting (and) refreshing time,” he said.

Sewickley Academy athletic director Win Palmer said, coming after summer break, fall training sessions are unique.

Players and coaches, he said, are rested and happy to see each other.

Quaker Valley girls volleyball coach Mike Vavrek said the first practice is a “fresh start” for his team.

The Quaker Valley football team got a jump with heat-acclimation drills earlier this week.

“August always has a special feel to it,” Quakers' football coach John Tortorea said. “The anticipation of the new season and school year and the potential of what could be is what is special about the start of the season.”

Sewickley Academy cross country coach Derek Chimner is enthusiastic about his boys squad.

After placing first at the WPIAL Class A championship and second in the PIAA in 2015, the Panthers expect to capture both titles this year.

Quaker Valley girls tennis coach Christi Hays said her team's initial practice will be devoted to finding replacements for singles players who graduated.

The Quakers are rebuilding after placing third in the WPIAL and qualifying for the PIAA Class AA playoffs last season.

“We will start with a singles round-robin competition, then move right into a doubles competition to round out the varsity,” Hays said.

In golf, the Quaker Valley boys team and the Sewickley Academy boys and girls squads will hold tryouts.

Quaker Valley's Chris Tanabe and Nico Simakas are eager to return after reaching the WPIAL Class AA boys individual championship last season.

Tanabe also made the PIAA tournament.

“I am very excited to see my teammates on the course again,” said Tanabe, 17, a senior.

“(We) should have a successful group this year, and I am excited to be part of it,” said Simakas, 16, a junior.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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