The 2105 high school fall sports season got underway Wednesday throughout Harford County as hundreds of student athletes hit fields, courts and courses in several sports.
The action was busy as expected all over the county with athletes taking part in football, boys soccer, girls soccer, field hockey, boys volleyball, girls volleyball, cross country and golf tryouts.
The practicing, training and conditioning is building for the start of the fall season, which for most sports begins Sept. 4. Golf gets underway the earliest, teeing it up Aug. 25. Boys volleyball and cross country begin Sept. 8.
One of Harford's top field hockey teams, C. Milton Wright, has a coaching change this season. Rachel Cooke steps in to lead the Mustangs, with no previous affiliation with the school. Cooke has some successful shoes to fill as the departed Janice Rhodes led the Mustangs to the 2013 Class 3A state title, CMW's first and only title in the sport.
"These next few days of practice will be very busy. I'm lucky that I've been given the opportunity to take over a strong program," Cooke said Tuesday. "I know the team has been working hard to prepare for the season, so I'm fully confident that starting tomorrow (Wednesday), we will launch almost immediately into some high level hockey in preparation for competitive play. I'm excited that we've gotten through the summer and I finally have the chance to get out on the field with the players and get started."
Cooke does bring experience from the county's most successful program, graduating from Fallston in 2009. Cooke's assistants are also from Fallston. Gretchen Griffith, the varsity assistant, is an '09 graduate as well, while JV assistant, Kelly Mattingly, graduated from Fallston in 2011. Both Griffith and Mattingly are teachers at CMW.
The county's best football team in 2014, Bel Air, was back on the field Wednesday. The Bobcats were 10-2 a year ago and reached the playoffs for the fifth time, but 22 seniors are gone off of that team.
"We are looking for leaders. Last year we had solid players with solid leadership skills and work ethic," Head Coach David Huryk said. "These first few days of practice, we are looking for guys to step into new roles. We are excited and believe we have the type of young men that can rise to the occasion."
Bel Air will begin its season at home, hosting Dulaney on Sept. 4.