On your mark, get set, the fall prep season is here

The calm before the … Well, that sentence can’t be completed, because the storm that is the start of the high school sports fall season is upon us.
Shake off those cobwebs. Summer vacation is over and it’s time to get to work. Punch that time card and hit the turf, track, water and court as visions of playoffs dance in your head.
Today marks the official opening bell across the Central Coast Section for football, cross country, field hockey, water polo, girls tennis, girls volleyball and girls golf.
For the third year in a row, the Christopher High varsity football team was the first to the field – going under the lights for its traditional “Midnight Madness” practice as the clocks strikes 12:00.01 a.m.
“The kids worked really hard over the summer and we did a lot of improving, and that excites me,” said CHS head coach Tim Pierleoni, whose Cougars, after sharing a league championship last season, will play in the upper Gabilan Division of the revamped Monterey Bay League. “We have a lot of new guys so this begins a long process of seeing what we are all about.”
Over at Gilroy High, the football team’s day begins in the heat at 3 p.m. for the first of two practices. The second will commence at 7 p.m.
“The boys are ready to get rolling and get those pads on,” first-year head coach Brian Boyd said Thursday.
The Mustangs, who have missed the playoffs each of the last two seasons, will also be in the stacked Gabilan Division, which includes San Benito, Palma, Salinas, Alvarez and Monterey.
Gilroy High field hockey is out for another run at the top of the Mount Hamilton Division of the Blossom Valley Athletic League. The Mustangs have played in the last two CCS championship games – thwarted in both, however. The fountain of youth usually flows in the Mustangs’ favor, and with veteran coach Adam Gemar at the helm, GHS figures to flex its muscles yet again.
CHS’s field hockey team just missed a playoff berth last season but returns a bevy of players with aspirations of dethroning Mission Trail Athletic League power North Salinas.
The CHS and GHS girls volleyball teams will be league foes inside the Pacific Division of the MBL. The same goes for girls and boys water polo.
“We are actually very excited for this season,” said CHS volleyball head coach Tom Schatz, who returns for his second season. “We are looking to be stronger and quicker this year.”
Cross country will be interesting to keep an eye on. Instead of dual meets, three center meets – where all teams in the league get together – is the new format. Gilroy High is up in the Gabilan Division with the likes of San Benito, Alisal, Monterey, North Monterey County, Palma/Notre Dame and Salinas. CHS will be in the Pacific Division.
“We have a very young team this year, but all is good,” GHS cross country coach Art Silva said.
CHS tennis picked up some momentum last fall and will look to continue that in year four under Patrick McBrearty.

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