Get ready for fall sports

For fall sports teams from high schools all over Ohio, the 2016 season kicks off Aug. 1, when coaches are allowed to officially hold practices.

This means that, despite last fall seeming like it was just yesterday, a new season is right around the corner. With all the local fall athletes prepared for another autumn grind, here are some teams to keep an eye on as August draws near:

Fort Frye football – Coming off a 10-0 season and their third playoff appearance in four years, the Cadets seem primed for another successful campaign on the gridiron. With experienced head coach Eric Huck back at the helm, along with returners at quarterback, running back and several other key positions, it’s hard to imagine the Fort not contending for a Pioneer Valley Conference title and another postseason berth.

Waterford volleyball – Last year the Lady Wildcats were one of the final four Division IV teams standing in the state before falling to Tuscarawas Central Catholic in the semifinals. Even with the departure of a gifted senior class fueled by TVC-Hocking Player of the Year Dani Drayer, the Laken Adams-coached team returns several talented players including hitters Megan Ball, Alli Kern, Ana Sophia Beardsley and senior setter Jillian McCutcheon.

Warren golf – Any golf coach who returns a state qualifier to his team is going to be thrilled. Such is the case for Warren head man Nathan Evans, whose team will be led by district champion Nick Ward. Ward was the first Warrior to ever advance to the state tournament in golf and is sure to have another productive season as a junior. He won’t be alone though, as teammates Kyler Dennis, Max Hapney and Josh Jankauskas are among the group’s talented returnees.

Williamstown boys soccer – Speaking of returnees, the Williamstown boys soccer team will have a bunch of familiar faces coming back. Jonathan Petty, Dakota Hammer and Josh Folwell are just a few of the Yellowjackets returning from the 2015 team that finished one win shy of a state tournament berth. With only two seniors graduating from the team, the ‘Jackets will be hard to stop this fall.

Caldwell cross country – You can’t say Caldwell cross country without talking about head coach Dugan Hill. The veteran running coach has helped guide the Redskins to success for three decades and always brings out the best in his athletes. Look for that trend to continue in 2016 as Hill has some talented runners to work with, including Sean Whetstone, Jacob Niswonger and Lindsey Furr.

Marietta girls tennis – As the Lady Tigers’ No. 1 singles player last year, Meredith Coil posted a 23-2 record and was named ECOL Player of the Year en route to advancing to the district tournament. Teammate Emma Stubbe was a first team All-ECOL honoree and also qualified for district as a doubles player. Coil and Stubbe both are back for head coach Chris Mayer and the MHS netters, who are looking to build off a second place finish in the ECOL last year.