A group of 11 boys ran sprints up and down the Augusta Christian football field on Monday afternoon. Even though a cold rain cancelled the first baseball practice of the season, it didn't dampen the spirits of coach Joseph Lutz.
It was the first ever Augusta Christian boys soccer practice.
"I told them we're starting" despite Monday's poor weather conditions, Lutz said. "We're looking at conditioning for at least one week, then tryouts are next week."
Although the turnout so far is just enough to field a team, Lutz said it's a step in the right direction to begin a soccer program.
"We've got 11 boys right now, but I think we'll have two or three more from the basketball squad," he said. "I've also got some who are thinking about doing track and soccer."
The girls soccer program, which also began workouts this week, had 45 girls sign up for tryouts.
With the new addition, Augusta Christian, previously the only major school in Columbia County without boys and girls soccer, now fields teams in 12 sports. Aquinas High School in Augusta is the only other area private school offering as many sports.
"I believe that it's just another step in trying to develop a complete athletic program," Augusta Christian athletics director Bruce Lane said. "We've had a great deal of interest from the guys and the girls in terms of soccer the past few years. We just feel excited to be able to allow our program to grow."
The main downside to adding two new sports teams is the playing field. Augusta Christian's football field will also serve as its soccer field, and with no separate practice field both soccer teams will have to share with spring football and boys and girls track.
"We're in a similar situation to many of the schools we play against," Lane said. "Every one of the schools in our region in SCISA uses their football field as their soccer field. We're just going to have to do a little more maintenance."
Lutz said his team will see its first live action on March 1 with a scrimmage at Westminster. The first regular-season game will take place on the road on March 13, and the first home game is March 15.
Until then, Lutz said the team has plenty to do.
"Right now we're just trying to lay the groundwork," he said.
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