Taking the next step toward getting ready for the regular season, several Union teams are heading to jamborees over the next several days.
Three of those, softball, soccer and volleyball, will be in Union. The softball and soccer jamborees are set for Saturday while volleyball is Tuesday. The football team goes to Parkway Central Friday for its jamboree.
The preseason events don’t count in the standings, but serve to help teams figure out what’s working and what needs to be addressed prior to the start of the season.
Friday also is a big day for the teams other than football because it’s the day MSHSAA releases district assignments for the next two years.
• Jamboree — at Parkway Central, Friday at 7 p.m. Teams involved are Timberland, Ft. Zumwalt South, Union and Parkway Central. Admission is $3 or two canned food items, which will be donated to Circle of Concern.
The Wildcats open against the host team at 7 p.m. In the second rotation, Union takes on Ft. Zumwalt South. The Wildcats will close out against Timberland.
“We are typically looking to solve depth chart issues and get an initial rep chart going,” Union Head Coach Erick Webster said. “We reevaluate weekly on how much each player should see the field but the jamboree is where we see how correct we were.”
Webster said it’s nice to have a scrimmage against other schools without having it count in the standings.
“It is also a dress rehearsal for us of basic knowledge and responsibility,” Webster said. “I’m looking more towards does he know what he’s supposed to do versus executing the game plan, like we do during regular season.”
Webster reported that the team has the normal bumps and bruises expected from a contact sport. Derric Purnell has the only injury of note and that happened during the summer. Webster indicated he is recovering and that he should be able to return soon.
• District Assignment — Union is in Class 4 District 3 along with Kennedy, Pacific, Priory, St. Clair, Borgia, Sullivan and Westminster Christian.
• Jamboree — hosting an eight-team event Tuesday starting at 5 p.m. The jamboree will be split into two four-team pools.
Union will be pooled with St. Joseph’s Academy, Pacific and Francis Howell Central. The other pool consists of St. Clair, Sullivan, Rockwood Summit and St. James.
Action begins with Union against St. Joseph’s Academy and St. Clair meeting Sullivan..
St. Joseph’s Academy then plays Pacific and St. Clair meets Rockwood Summit.
Union plays Francis Howell Central and Sullivan meets St. James in the next round.
St. Joseph’s Academy concludes with Francis Howell Central and St. Clair takes on St. James.
And, the event ends with Union against Pacific and Sullivan meeting Rockwood Summit.
This is the second year that Union has hosted what essentially is a double jamboree event.
• District Assignment — Class 3 District 8 with Borgia, Owensville, Salem, St. Clair, St. James and Sullivan. It’s pretty much the same as last year with Salem added.
• Jamboree — hosting a three-team event Saturday starting at 9 a.m. Sullivan and Eureka are coming and it will be the first softball action on the new Wildcat Field at Union High School.
Union will meet Sullivan in the first scrimmage. Sullivan then takes on Eureka and Union will meet Eureka to close out the day.
• District Assignment — Class 3 District 9 with Owensville, Salem, St. Clair, St. James and Sullivan.
• Jamboree — Union will be hosting a three-team jamboree with Pacific and Hancock starting at 10 a.m.
Union will take on Hancock to start with Hancock then facing Pacific around 10:40 a.m. Union meets Pacific around 11:20 a.m. to finish out the event.
“Jamborees are good for a couple reasons,” Union Head Coach Matt Fennessey said. “It breaks up the every day practice routine., It also gives the coaching staff a look at possible issues. Things like positioning, formation, and overall team play. Along with that you can also try some things out. Moving players around and seeing what works.”
• District Assignment — In the first cycle of four classes in soccer, Union has been assigned to Class 3 District 9 with Camdenton, Helias and Rolla.
Heading into the jamboree, Fennessey said the team is still looking at all areas for improvement.
“Currently, we’re still looking at all positions,” Fennessey said. “We’ve got a pretty good idea of who is going to make the starting lineup it’s just a matter of where they’re going to play.”
So far, things have been going well with the Wildcats.
“At this point everybody is still learning about what their role on the team is going to be,” Fennessey said. “Kids right now are being asked to play in positions that may not be comfortable to them but, it may be where the team needs them to play. Time always tells with that stuff. Still looking for that new kid to stand out and earn a starting spot or primary role off the bench. Like I said, time tells with that though. We’ve had a couple injuries but, nothing to be concerned about at this point. We’re pretty healthy overall. We’re looking forward to the home opener vs. Festus next Friday.”
Union will start the season in the New Haven Short Course Invitational Sept. 6. That event is shorter than the standard 3.1-mile cross country race and serves as a meet which eases runners into the season.
• District Assignment — Class 3 District 2 with Kennedy, Owensville, Pacific, Priory, Salem, St. Clair, Borgia, St. James, Sullivan, Villa Duchesne, Visitation Academy and Westminster Christian.