Middle School races ahead to fall sports season

Rising sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students will sign up for early fall sports for the 2022-2023 academic year during PE the week of May 16.
By Lilly Miller, MS Athletic Director

With summer break just around the corner, it's time for rising sixth through eighth graders to look ahead to the 2023-2023 school year to consider participating in our early fall sports programs listed below. After reviewing the information on each program, students will sign up for any sport of interest during PE the week of May 16. 
Remember that signing up for a sport requires a fair level of commitment. All players are expected to be at practices each day. There are usually games/competitions after school, and players should be prepared to be present for those. Please reach out to MS Athletic Director Lilly Miller if you have any specific questions regarding attendance. 
Here are the early fall sports offered:
Girls Volleyball
Eligibility: Students rising to grades 6-8.
Practices begin at the beginning of August; the season concludes on September 30. Teams are made based on ability; sixth graders usually stay together. Practices are from 2:30–4 p.m. in our on-campus gyms. There are generally two to three games per week on weekdays. Game start times can be anytime from 4–5:30 p.m. 
Boys & Girls Cross Country
Eligibility: Students rising to grades 6-8.
Practices begin at the beginning of August; the season concludes on September 30. All runners will compete in all meets. Practices take place daily at various locations such as the River Campus, Edgehill Campus, and Richland Greenway. Practices usually take place from 2:30–4 p.m.
Boys & Girls Tennis
Eligibility: Students rising to grades 6-8.
Practices begin at the beginning of August; the season concludes on September 30. Depending on interest and sign-up numbers, we will separate into groups based on ability. Depending on the ability, players will practice at different facilities. Some groups will practice at the River Campus (3–4:30 p.m.) and others at Centennial Sportsplex (2:45–4:15 p.m.). Matches are generally for the top 7-10 players of each gender and take place once or twice per week.
Developmental Golf
Eligibility: Students rising to grades 6-8.
Practices begin at the beginning of August; the season concludes on September 30. Practices will be at various locations such as McCabe Golf Course, USN campuses, and Vinny Links. This will be primarily for practicing and learning the game. There may be a few matches for those ready to play a full round of golf, but those will be rare. All players will need to own clubs (not necessarily a full set, but will need a wedge, a few irons, and a putter). Based on interest, we’ll structure the practices accordingly.
The next two sports follow a different set-up than the previous four; please read carefully to note the differences.
Boys & Girls Mountain Biking
Eligibility: Students rising to grades 6-8.
Practices begin in early August and end in late October, so the season crosses over both early and late fall sports seasons. Practice is usually Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays at local trails for those committed to the National Interscholastic Cycling Association state league race season. For the upcoming season, there will be five Sunday races across the state every other Sunday starting August 28. Some racers are able to participate on other teams across the two fall seasons for Middle School athletes, but please communicate with all coaches involved so there’s a good plan in place before the seasons start. The team occasionally offers fun rides for those not racing, but cyclists joining the team for regular practices are committing to being part of the team in the five competitive NICA league races. Contact Coaches Steve Smail and Amy Dortch with questions.
Eligibility: Students rising to grades 5-8.
Our Middle School participates in a co-op football team with Harding Academy. Harding is the host school, so our football players go over to play there. There is a summer football camp on July 25-29 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. each day. It is not mandatory but recommended especially for players that are new to tackle football. You can register for this camp here. The first day of practice will be the week of August 1, and the season will conclude on September 30. Practices may occur more often in the first few weeks, but will likely be three days per week plus a game as we transition to school. Those days will be identified closer to the season. For more information about football, please reach out to Harding's Athletic Director & Head Football Coach Corby Lucas
If you have any questions about early fall sports offerings, please reach out to MS Athletic Director Lilly Miller. Early fall sports sign-ups will take place the week of May 16 during PE. Please discuss these options as a family to determine the best fit for each student. 
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