By Leila Dycus staff writer
Summertime is generally a time for students to rest from a long school year, but for some of MCHS’s finest athletes, it’s a time to prepare for the coming season. As school comes to an end, students are beginning to plan their summers but for the fall sport athletes their summers will include extra practice. Volleyball, Softball and Football will begin their summer workouts in the coming weeks. Below is an overview of what your MCHS Bulldogs will be doing as they prepare for a new season. Be sure to check back for updates on when summer scrimmages and games will occur and come out and support your MCHS Bulldogs.
“Win or lose we will be putting a team of girls on the court who are not only great athletes, but who have outstanding character, play the game with integrity and display great sportsmanship,” said newly named Head Volleyball Coach Greg Thompson.
As coach Thompson has had to hit the ground running preparing his new team for a summer of workouts. For volleyball the month of June will be left open for them to work on their skills on their own. “We encourage the girls to make sure they are working out on their own during the summer before we actually begin team workouts,” said Coach Thompson. “This allows them to be ahead of the game, and not come into our team workouts out of shape.” For the volleyball team their practices begin the week after Forth of July. The girls will have three to four practices a week and two scrimmages during the week of July 7 through the 10. In July the girls will also participate in a team camp. Tryouts for the volleyball teams will be held during the second week in August. Coach Thompson said that this is a new team for him, and that he is going to be looking to community coach Pete Busenitz for help.
With 17 years coaching experience Thompson said that his role as head coach will be different than in the past. Pete Busenitz is knowledgeable about the sport and will help lead the team as Thompson encourages the girls and motivates them to do their best. There is a lot of behind the scenes work that has to be done to lead a team like this and Thompson will be doing most of that. “Pam Hooten started this outstanding volleyball program and I will be doing everything I can to continue what she has started and to grow the program,” said Thompson.
The summer is going to be a busy time to be a MCHS softball player, with games, tournaments and community camps the girls will have a lot of playing time. Coach Doug Connelly said that the players have been working out and in the weight room getting speed and agility work in. The idea is that the girls will get a little stronger and a little faster. In June the softball players will participate in a league in Walnut Grove where they will play other area teams. Games will be played one night a week double-header style.
On June 10 and 11 the girls will head to Augusta for a tournament at Greenbriar High School. The month of June will be a time when the girls will play 10 to 12 games. It will allow the coaches to evaluate the players and see the areas that they need to improve on as individuals and as a team. June 2-4 the program will host a community camp for children ages 5 to 10. During the camp high school players and coaches will work with the kids. This allows the team to not only raise money for the program but also get to know the area kids. June 4-6 will be a camp for kids ages 11-14.
Since these children are older and more experienced the coaches are bringing in past players who have since moved on the play college level softball. In July the softball program will move to 3 day a week workouts. July will be a time where the coaches can focus on working with individual players by doing things like filming their batting so they know what they need to work on.
August 1 is the first official day of practices for the MCHS softball team. “We have a busy summer what’s important is that that we improve as individuals and as a team,” said Coach Connelly.
By summer practices the MCHS football teams are sure to be in shape. The boys have been in weigh training classes and have been conditioning since Christmas break. Coach Malone said that the boys have been good about attending conditioning practices. The focus of the football team’s practices have been lifting and running. Summer conditioning will begin the day after Memorial Day. This will be a time where the boys come in at 7a.m.. Coach Malone also said that the team will play in about 11 seven on seven games this summer facing various teams sporadically through the summer.
The Bulldogs will also travel to Statesboro for a summer camp, which Coach Malone said is pretty standard for any high school football team. “I’m looking to seeing how we’re able to fill gaps of seniors that have graduated and come together as a team, the guys have been really focused on playing for one another,” said Coach Malone. In August one of the true challenges for the team will be seeing how they do under intense heat conditions. The coaching staff feels like they have a good team and they have enjoyed getting to know them. The boys have responded well to the weight room. “They’re going to be a fun team to cheer for,” said Coach Malone.