Dartmouth High coaches prepare for spring competition
Two years removed from competition, spring sports are now just days away from beginning their respective seasons — and Dartmouth High’s coaches are feeling confident about their upcoming schedules.
The spring season — set to run from April 26 to July 3 — will feature tennis, outdoor track, baseball, softball, and lacrosse. Masks will be required across all sports.
But unlike previous socially distanced seasons, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association will allow for statewide postseason tournaments — the first tournaments since the basketball and hockey state finals were cancelled last spring.
“This is probably the closest we’ve had to a normal season so far,” Baseball Coach Michael Frates said.
As with the Fall, Winter and Fall II seasons, sports will see a number of new Covid-related rules. But coaches agree that they won’t have any major effects on the non-contact sports.
With tennis, each team must provide its own tennis balls for warm-up. Players should also remain safely separated from their doubles partner during all changeovers.
For track events, only one athlete will be allowed per lane per heat. During relays, teams must provide their own batons — which are required to be disinfected before each event. Finish lines must also be open, with proper spacing for all participants.
In baseball, Frates noted that his team will have to run bases with a mask and that the dugout might have to get extended, but “everything is pretty much the same.”
At this point, the coach said his main concerns are making sure the weather cooperates and that his team is in baseball shape come their first game on May 10.
“Starting April 26 we’ll hold tryouts,” he said. “It’s looking like a pretty good turnout — we’ll get the teams to where they need to be and then we’ll be off and running.”
Softball Coach Beth Arguin noted she also doesn’t expect any drastic changes beyond expanding the dugout “quite a bit.”
The only major concern this season, she said, is making sure enough girls sign up this year.
“I don’t have many kids preregistered — which is kind of strange,” Arguin said.
Among the sports with the most significant changes will be boys and girls lacrosse.
Under the MIAA’s new rules, boys lacrosse will conduct all of their faceoffs similar to the collegiate level: players starting faceoffs with only their feet, gloves and sticks touching the ground.
Girls lacrosse will also see big changes. Head Coach Chris Tresca said that players will no longer have to stop after each whistle, similar to how the boys play.
Substitutions will also be an adjustment.
“It will definitely make the game run a lot faster,” Tresca said. “But I think it will be a better feel.”
The biggest adjustment, the coach said, was making sure his girls are ready to play, as many of the players from the 2019 team have since graduated.
To prepare his squad, the coach noted that the MIAA has allowed small preseason practices, which he said upwards of 20 girls have attended.
There will also be a scrimmage against Pembroke later in the month.
Overall, the lacrosse coach said he’s just excited that his girls will be able to compete after the season was cut in 2020.
“It might be a little of a rough start,” he said. “But I think we’re going to have a good season.”