After 15 days of official practices, several local sports teams will officially begin their seasons on Monday afternoon, with the rest to follow in the days to come.
Two of the more successful sports teams of last fall are wasting no time getting back into action this season. East Surry’s volleyball team, which won the Northwest 1A Conference title last year with a 24-5 record, begins its 2017 campaign at about 6 p.m. at home against Wilkes Central. Mount Airy, which finished right on their heels last year at 23-6 and second in the NW1A, will be hosting Elkin at the same time.
The Granite Bears’ soccer team is also making its debut tomorrow, but anyone hoping to check them out will have to make a bit of a road trip. Mount Airy, which scrimmaged at Fred T. Foard on Saturday, will have its first official match tomorrow at 6 at North Wilkes. Defending Western Piedmont 2A volleyball champ North Surry will begin on Tuesday against East, while the Surry Central spikers will begin on Wednesday at Wilkes Central.
North Surry and East Surry tennis will be debuting against each other on Monday. The Lady Hounds visit the Lady Cardinals at 4:30. The area’s other two tennis teams will be waiting a few days before they start. Four-time defending Western Piedmont 2A champ Surry Central will play for the first time on Thursday, hosting East Wilkes. Defending 1A West Regional champ Mount Airy won’t start until next week.
The Golden Eagles’ soccer team is also taking advantage of the first day to play an official match. Central hosts Hibriten today at 6:30 in what should be a very challenging opener for both teams — Hibriten went 20-6 while playing in the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference last year, and reached the second round of the 3A state playoffs.
The other two local soccer teams won’t be starting until later this week. North Surry begins its season on Wednesday at home against South Stokes, in what is now a non-conference match-up after the schools spent several years as league rivals. East Surry, trying to bounce back from a difficult 2016 season, will start on Tuesday at home against North Wilkes. The Cardinals won’t even play on the road until the last day of the month.
Some local teams will already be three games or matches into their season by the time that football gets under way at the end of the week. All four local teams are at home for their first official contests of 2017. Defending Northwest co-champ Mount Airy hosts Starmount this coming Friday night, while defending WPAC champ Surry Central kicks off its season against an Elkin team that had a winless season last fall. One of the other NW1A co-champs last year was East Surry, and the experienced Cardinals hope not to have to share in ‘17. They start their campaign on Friday at home against another group of Cardinals, those of East Wilkes, in what should be another highly competitive early battle. North Surry also faces a challenge in its opener, with 3A North Forsyth as the guests.
Teams were allowed to being full practice for the 2017 fall season on July 31. The first permissible day for all sports other than football is Monday, while football teams are allowed to play their first official games this coming Friday.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.