Practices started smoothly for the Union High School fall sports teams Monday, according to coaches who responded.
Union’s cross country program started with a midnight practice while the football, softball and girls golf teams practiced in the morning.
The volleyball and boys soccer teams went with afternoon and evening practices, respectively.
New Head Coach Justin Grahl ran a practice from 6-11 a.m. Monday at Stierberger Stadium. The team will continue practicing through the week before Friday’s photo day and lock-in.
The Wildcats will hold a midnight practice Saturday to mark the start of full pads.
Head Coach Tiffany Poggas reported the team had 28 players come out Monday and about 22 or 23 will be kept for the final varsity and junior varsity teams.
The team is running a three-day tryout while looking at fielding and hitting on the first two games. The final day of tryouts will include a scrimmage.
Four seniors, four juniors, 10 sophomores and 10 freshmen reported for the opening practice at Wildcat Ballpark Monday morning.
“It was very hot and humid this morning,” Poggas said. “The weather wasn’t the most agreeable for working out, but overall the girls battled the heat well. We had a lot of water breaks when we chatted, we tried to get in the shade when we could. When we planned practice, we knew it would be hot so we tried our best as a coaching staff to intersperse high-level activities with resting times.”
Poggas said her staff liked what it saw for the first day.
“Overall, I think this was one of the stronger first days we’ve had,” Poggas said. “I’m happy with the incoming freshman group. They’re athletic and in shape for the most part. It’s always nice to be able to have talent in every class.”
Kelli Bailey’s volleyball team had five seniors, four juniors, seven sophomores and 11 freshmen report on the opening day.
“Things were a little rough the first day but that’s to be expected,” Bailey said. “We had large turnouts all summer at open gyms which was helpful for those girls.”
Overall, Bailey said it’s possible all players could be kept this year.
“We were planning on making cuts, but think we may be able to find a spot for each girl perfectly on our team,” Bailey said. “Some may not have the roles they thought, but will be valuable assets to our program.”
Bailey said this could be a good group.
“Overall practice went well. We have a good mixture of girls and a lot of them have that will to win and don’t ever give up,” Bailey said.
“Our culture has shifted over the years through the leadership of each group that has gone through in different ways and you can feel the excitement for the season. We look forward to changing things around from last year for sure.”