Northwest to southeast, the prevailing early spring winds that whip across the playing fields of the Cape Henlopen sports complex range from bitter to biting. P.J. Kesmodel, head coach of the girls' lacrosse program, instructs his players to dress in layers and pack more than they think is needed as the weather at the end of practice is almost always colder than at the start.
Friday was typical for the first day of practices for 10 spring sports teams. Light rain to drizzle and a stiff wind off the Delaware Bay - or was that the Atlantic Ocean?
Head coach of girls' soccer Bob Deiterle welcomed a smiling crew of 40 athletes who did some warm-up jogging followed by stretching then kicking the ball about. The girls will work to improve on last year’s record of 6-9. Dieterle was head coach at Archbishop Spalding the last 11 seasons, amassing a record of 172-24-21, and twice his teams received recognition as No. 1 in the country in the NSCAA and ESPN polls.
Coach Dieterle and his wife Patti retired to Rehoboth Beach.
The Cape track athletes circled the soccer field as coaches George Pepper and Matt Lindell saw large turnouts. The girls of Coach Pepper are two-time defending state champions while Lindell is in his second year at Cape after coaching at Dover and Smyrna. Both Pepper and Lindell were Henlopen Conference Indoor Coaches of the Year for the recent 2012-13 season.
Girls' lacrosse with coaches Kesmodel and Bill Lingo running practice welcomed 40 athletes. The motto for Cape 2013 is “Strive for five” as the girts go for Cape fifth straight state championship. Cape’s junior varsity was also undefeated in 2012.
Boys' lacrosse with head coach Jack Lingo had a typical large turnout as the team’s goals are always to get to the final four and see if they can win two games from there. Counting assistants and volunteers, Cape has nine coaches. The Vikings have won five state championships since the undefeated 1998 team coached by Steve Aubrey. Last season the team was 10-5, losing to Tower Hill 8-6 in the quarterfinals.
Coach Ben Evick is back in his manager's uniform since directing Tyler Townsend, Sean Tappan, Billy Cunningham and Ray Jackson to a pair of Henlopen Conference championships.
Baseball was 9-9 last season but returns most starters, having lost Jake Dmiterchik and Chris Rivera. The team is deep in pitching, led by University of Delaware commit Diaz Nardo backed up by junior Griffin Kammerer.
Jeff Evans, softball coach in his second season, is also coming off a record of 9-9, having lost several close games including a pair by a single run.
Evans will be looking for starting pitching in the early season. This team will be young; several freshmen are expected to make the varsity squad.
Scrimmages for all teams begin this week, and the weather is predicted to be midweek wet. All schedules and changes can be followed at www.websites4sports.com.