Century senior Emily Kain chats with us about the first day of fall sports practice.
Century field hockey coach Terry Duryea led a group of girls through a series of sprinting and dribbling drills, timing the players as they went.
Duryea, who returns to Century after coaching at Manchester Valley for three seasons, blew her whistle every few moments to signal to the next pair of athletes that it was their turn. Across the Knights’ field, two more stations of girls worked on other forms of stick work and fundamentals.
Wednesday marked the first day of high school fall sports practices for public schools in Maryland — plenty of Carroll’s sports teams across the county got underway as early as 7 a.m.
“I’m feeling really good,” Knights senior Emily Kain said. “I like the new coaching change a lot and I think we’re going to be really successful. I like seeing who’s coming out and what we’re doing.”
This is Duryea’s 13th year coaching field hockey and she has experience at both the junior varsity and varsity levels. She led the JV program at Liberty for two years, the varsity team at Century for five, and coached at Man Valley for three prior to making her return to the Knights’ program.
Duryea has not coached any of the current Knights, unless it was club related, because this year’s seniors were freshmen when Duryea left for Manchester Valley. She was saddened to leave the Mavericks, she said, but the move made sense for her.
Duryea works at Sykesville Middle School, approximately 10 minutes from Century, and Sykesville is a feeder to the southern Carroll high school.
“Carroll County’s done a lot with feeder programs,” Duryea said. “Girls are starting earlier and earlier with rec and club programs and it pays off just to see. All the freshmen who have stepped on the field today have played, they have experience playing whereas when I played many years ago, my first time playing was Day 1 of tryouts. It’s definitely grown a lot.”
The Knights started their first day of practice with a mile-long run for conditioning. The girls then broke into drills called “Three’s” to work on dribbling under stressful situations, and did station work to master stick skills.
Wednesday’s practice concluded with a series of field sprints.
Duryea said Aug. 8 marked the earliest day practices could possibly start in state history, and the anticipation of a fresh start excites her.
“I’m excited to be back, for sure,” Duryea said. “I get antsy to get going and I know it eats up some of their summer but I get antsy to really start coaching and forming teams and stuff like that. I’m ready to start.”
Duryea, a North Carroll High School grad and former Panthers player, coached at Century from 2010-14 and led the Knights to a state championship in 2013. Century went 69-15-3 under Duryea before she headed north.
Man Valley reached the state semifinals in 2015 and 2016, Duryea’s first two seasons as Mavs coach, and went 31-20 in her three years (Duryea is 100-35-3 in her coaching career).
Century lost to county foe Liberty in the Class 2A West Section 1 final last season and finished the year at 10-6. Duryea’s return gives the girls a sense of hope for success as they anticipate possibilities for the season ahead.
“I think they know that we’ve had a lot of success in the past with her so we trust her as a coach,” Kain said. “With the coaching change, she brings a lot of intensity and I think we can really use that as a team.”