BANGOR, Maine — When the seemingly never-ending rain was pounding the state earlier this summer, Bangor High girls soccer coach Joe Johnson’s crystal ball told him that things would heat up at the end of August, when his Rams kicked off tryouts.
Turns out he was right.
The state’s football, soccer, cross country and field hockey teams felt a different type of wrath from Mother Nature in the form of heat and humidity as preseason practices opened Monday.
Games can get under way on Friday, Sept. 4 while most soccer teams in Aroostook County have already started playing.
With cloudless skies and temperatures climbing into the 90s Monday, the Rams took it easy in the first of their two sessions at the Union Street Complex.
“We had to take a little bit more caution this morning than we normally would with the weather,” said Johnson before an afternoon practice. “As soon as the weather breaks, we’re right back at it.”
One of the things the Rams fine-tuned over the summer was their conditioning — and it’s a good thing they did with Monday’s conditions — with optional fitness sessions and scrimmages during the week.
“For fitness, our coach installed a sand pit, we did a lot of squats and jumps to build our legs a lot,” senior Annie McKay said.
She’s one of a solid corps of motivated seniors Bangor is bringing back, including offensive leader Eliza Estabrook, Denali Graham, M.J. Boyce, Adrianna Capuano, Amy Connors and Megan Doucette.
“They’ve trained hard this summer, they’ve played a lot of soccer this summer and we’ve had four, five good scrimmages this summer so we’re ready as ever,” Johnson said.
One of those scrimmages occurred against reigning Class A state champion Waterville, whom the Rams wound up beating.
“Without a doubt, they were good games this summer, very competitive,” Johnson said.
One area where the Rams will be fairly young is in goal, with sophomores Mia Smith and Mary Wicks vying to fill the goalkeeping shoes left by Kortnie Hudgens.
“They have been waiting for a chance to play around here. We’ll miss Kortnie but we have a couple who are going to step right in,” said Johnson.
Bangor bowed out of the Class A playoffs in the quarterfinals last fall, dropping a tough 3-0 decision to regional finalist Brunswick, which is being pegged as a preseason favorite this summer.
“It’s our senior year so we want to finish strong, because I don’t think a lot of us are going to play in college so we definitely want to end on a good season,” said McKay.
“Since my freshman year we’ve lost in the quarterfinals every year so we’re hoping to get by that this year,” added Capuano.
Caribou Alumni race Friday
The Caribou High School cross country teams will host the sixth annual Alumni Community Cross Country race on Friday.
Registration will open at 7:30 p.m. while racing gets under way at 8.
The race will take place on Caribou’s challenging, lighted 2.75-mile cross-country course.
Runners of all ages are invited to compete, and you don’t have to be a Caribou alum to take part either. Categories include 50-over, eighth grade and under and high school and elite runners. Participants can compete as an individual or a team.
Teams, which can be mixed, men’s or women’s, must have at least three runners to compile a score and no more than five.
There is no fee to enter the race, and runners will start in various age categories, one minute apart, with scoring done by place as opposed to time. All winners will receive a T-shirt.