The first day of field hockey practice Friday morning, coach Tim Bamforth of the Seashore Striders set up a digital clock on the track. For two flights of runners the varsity fitness standard was 16 minutes for 3,200 meters, eight laps, what Americans call the Two Mile.
Many ran under the standard and many did not; a few others were rehabbing from injuries and illnesses, just your standard first-day stuff.
Freshman Annie Judge busted from the pack to win the first flight, while Tess Bernheimer led the second group from post to paddock.
What was most notable is how the athletes supported each other, with the slower struggling runners often getting a team escort to the finish line.
And then it was over to Champions Stadium for a skills and drills practice in preparation for an all-day play day at Cape on Saturday, the second day of practice.
“We have three teams mixed and matched, and I will watch every game to see how our kids are doing," said assistant coach Debbie Windett. "In a way it’s kind of crazy to be playing the second day, and in another way it’s good for the kids and more exciting than drills.”
Cape looked like Cape in the scrimmages, mostly controlling the ball and field position, but most of the better Delaware teams were not there, so things were hard to analyze. Cape had 18 freshmen show up on the first day of practice.
Teams in attendance were Holy Cross, Conrad, Dover, Kent Island, Padua, Paint Branch, Smyrna, Saint Thomas More and Wooten.
Tatnall was a no-show apparently assessing beach traffic and having the intelligence to turn around.
Cape will participate in the Polytech all-day play day Saturday Aug. 23.
“This week we'll do a lot of skill work trying to find a system that fits our people," Windett said.