Saturday marked the step up for the Washington football Blue Jays.
Zach Schneider’s team put on full pads for the first time and started the second phase of practice.
“We went full pads on Saturday and today,” Schneider said Monday afternoon. “Its been a transition, but it is getting better. We have to get the kids used to the contact part of the game. We have really focused on tackling technique and proper angles more than anything.”
The Blue Jays had a small scrimmage at the end of Saturday’s practice session with each group seeing between 10 and 15 plays.
“Our Varsity guys did some good things," Schneider said. “Jared Rennick ran the ball well and both Austin Finder and Seth Bollmann caught the ball well. Defensively, we were a little rusty with tackling, but made huge improvements today. Jay Jacquin did some good things on the defensive line. We saw some real progress by our younger levels, as they are starting to figure everything out. The biggest thing, with everyone, is just developing some consistency.”
Kym Blankenship hopes 13 is a lucky number.
That’s how many players she has on this year’s Washington High School varsity volleyball team.
“We had 13 come out and we kept all 13,” Blankenship said. “We’ve got to define roles. Obviously, we have to build kids and keep kids in the program to develop.”
Washington has five seniors with outside hitter Jenna Barnhart, outside-rightside hitter Sarah Borgerding, defensive specialist Emily Scheible, setter Emily Voss and rightside hitter Andrea Zoellner coming back this fall.
Blankenship feels she has good leadership among the five and with each at a different position, that should help Washington develop for the future.
“I think we have depth at every position,” Blankenship said. “We have veterans to help the younger players and I like that. It really helps out.”
Blankenship feels that having both of last year’s setters back to run this year’s 6-2 offense should be very beneficial.
Junior Paige Carpenter joins Voss in running the offense.
“Having the setters back will be a big help, too,” said Blankenship. “A lot of our kids haven’t played together much in the past, so having the setters should help with the team chemistry.”
Carpenter and middle hitter Amanda Vollmer are the two returning juniors who started on the varsity last season. Vollmer saw extensive club experience during the offseason and is expected to make a big impact this season.
The biggest early-season position fight could be for the libero jersey, where a trio of defensive specialists are vying to replace graduated all-conference and all-area libero Erica Diener.
The trio includes Scheible and juniors Olivia Ancell and Tyelar Steiger.
“All three have been pretty even for what we need at the position,” Blankenship said. “It should be a toss-up for the first couple of weeks.”
Blankenship sees junior Jenna Haas as another potential key player. She will play middle hitter opposite Vollmer.
“Jenna is making a big transition from junior varsity to varsity,” Blankenship said. “She brings a lot of speed and power. She’s going to need it. The game speeds up considerably from junior varsity to varsity.”
Juniors Abby Hopkins (setter-defensive specialist) and Macy Robinson (rightside hitter) and sophomore Kate Baer (rightside-outside hitter) round out the roster. Baer is expected to see playing time as Borgerding recovers from an injury.
“We have a great group of kids and hard workers,” Blankenship said. “They are competitive.”
The Lady Jays have been moving around for practices due to work at Blue Jay Gym. Practices have been at Washington Middle School and Little Blue Jay Gym until the normal spot is ready to go once again.
Washington goes to the Rolla Jamboree Monday, Aug. 18.
Coach Adam Fischer has selected the inaugural Washington girls golf team with two seniors, three juniors and two sophomores on the 2014 squad.
Allison Hancock and Jessica Slaughter are the seniors who will lead the Lady Jays to the links.
Carolyn Williams, Taylor Feighery and Aubree Kitchell are the juniors while Emma Jones and Madi Deters are sophomores on the squad.
Fischer said the cooperation of Wolf Hollow Golf Club has been key to getting the program going.
“I would just like to thank Wolf Hollow Golf Course for their great hospitality and tremendous generosity while we use their facilities all season,” said Fischer. “They have welcomed us with open arms and are always there to help the program when we need something. Without their support, girls golf would not have been started so easily at WHS.”
With 10 swimmers already on the roster, Washington Coach Lane Page hopes to continue adding as the season gets closer.
“I hope to get some more swimmers,” Page said. “The swimmers we have already are searching for more bodies. I used to get swimmers from other sports who had a change of heart, were looking for something else, and decided to take up swimming.”
Page stated in the past swimmers came from all different backgrounds.
“On occasion it was the person who wasn’t getting enough playing time in another sport,” Page said. “Also, football players who wanted extra conditioning would come out. Sometimes I would provide a place for a student who had basic swimming experience and was looking for an activity (and so were the parents).”
Page continues to look for anyone to join the team.
“My policy with this team is that it is never too late to join our ranks, and I can work around any schedule for meets, etc. We want to have maximum flexibility to make sure that the program takes off,” Page said.
The initial 10 swimmers are Tent Althen, Colin Broeder, Ryan Coates, Reese Gardner, Dean Hoffman, David Meyers, Griffen Scheel, Nick Sikes, Grant Smith and Andrew Tchiblakian.
Managers are Emily Moreland and Andrew Hoffman.
Washington’s boys soccer team had 45 come out on the opening day last Monday with 13 seniors, nine juniors seven sophomores and 16 freshmen.
Derek Schriewer said the players came in ready to go.
“Our miles times are considerably better as a collective this year and we look to have a lot more skill in camp this week,” Schriewer said.
The coach reported there would be cuts made this past weekend with about five players expected to be released.
Schriewer said starting practices a week early wasn’t tough overall.
“Honestly it hasn’t been too bad besides overlapping with the Fair,” Schriewer said.