The local landscape changes dramatically on Monday morning with the start of fall sports practices at Lockport, Barker, Newfane, Royalton-Hartland, Starpoint and Wilson high schools.
Varsity and junior varsity sports teams will meet at a variety of locations throughout the area in the following sports: football, soccer, tennis, volleyball, cross country, golf, swimming and cheerleading.
At Lockport High School, Lions varsity football coach Greg Bronson is gearing up for the first official practice for his defending Section VI Class AA North-champion team at 7 a.m. Monday.
Coach Bronson said he’ll continue with the “single practice” format implemented successfully last year to avoid the sometimes excessive heat of late summer afternoons, as well as the need for players to re-stretch after a long break.
Lions varsity football practices will run daily from about 7 to 11:30 a.m. State law restricts how quickly contact can be initiated at high school grid practices. Practices on Monday and Tuesday of next week will be with helmets only. Shoulder pads and blocking devices will get thrown into the mix after that, but direct body contact won’t begin until Aug. 24.
As of today, there were 47 kids interested in trying out for the LHS varsity football team. All players who meet practice and conditioning requirements and follow team and school rules will be kept, Bronson said, adding that summer conditioning and other camps were well attended.
Also extremely helpful in getting players acclimated ahead of schedule was the recently-completed Lions football camp at Max D. Lederer Field, sponsored by the Lockport Sunrise Optimist Club, which attracted 7-on-7 as well as 11-on-11 teams from not only Lockport, but Starpoint, Wilson and Kenmore East.
The varsity football Lions will meet at 7 a.m. Monday in the Fitness Foyer to begin their fall sports practice sessions. Head coach Miles Patterson’s JV Cubs will meet officially for the first time at 7 a.m. Monday in the LHS Auditorium Foyer. Coach Pat Seidel’s Lockport modified football team won’t meet for the first time until 8 a.m. on Aug. 22 in the North Park Auxiliary Gym.
Other Lockport practice start times on Monday are as follows:
• Boys Varsity Soccer — 7:30 a.m. at LHS soccer field
• Girls Varsity Soccer — 8 a.m. at LHS soccer field
• Boys JV Soccer — 8 a.m. at LHS soccer field
• Girls JV Soccer — 8 a.m. at LHS soccer field
• Girls Tennis — 9 a.m. at LHS courts
• Boys Varsity & JV Volleyball — Noon at LHS west gym
• Girls Varsity Volleyball — 8:30 a.m. LHS east gym
• Girls JV Volleyball — 11 a.m. at LHS east gym
• Boys & Girls Cross Country — 8:30 a.m. at Belknap Field House
• Girls Varsity & JV Swimming — TBA at LHS pool
• Golf — 11 a.m. at the Niagara County Golf Course