BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Fall is approaching rapidly, which means Gov. Livingston High School students are preparing for fall sports, cold weather, pumpkin spice lattes, and the inevitable end of summer. Tans will fade as the workload increases. But in the midst of all of this change, student athletes have one more obstacle to face before school starts—preseason.
Throughout the summer, the word preseason is the fly buzzing around an athlete’s head. It marks the beginning of early mornings and end of late nights. Preseason is known for long runs, tedious drills and hot weather. The conclusion of summer is commonly associated with preseason, because once August hits, summer fever becomes the summer scramble.
While not all of preseason’s facets are desirable, athletes have a way of adjusting to the new summer schedule and find a way to look upon preseason positively.
“Preseason can be hard and tiring, but it’s where we get fit and ready to play. It’s where kids show what they can do and I think it’s interesting to see what the new kids have to offer every year,” said senior boys' soccer player Michael Coimbra.
Many of the athletes find preseason as a way to build and establish a team dynamic. Though the tryouts can be intimidating and intense, that competitive atmosphere brings the students together.
Kelsea Siter, a key player on GL’s field hockey team, has had three years of preseason and relies on the time for team bonding. Siter said, “Preseason is a great time to bond with the team, while learning new skills and game tactics before the start of the season.”
The cheer squad at GL has similar views regarding team fundamentals. Olivia Sot, one of the many seniors of the cheer squad said, “It’s really enjoyable to be able to bond with the cheer squad through fundraisers and other gatherings such as Taco Tuesday.” The flyer of the team added, “#CHEERISLIFE.”
In terms of motivation, the girls’ tennis team at GL uses preseason as drive for the rest of the season. Senior Melissa Hilf finds that a good preseason will lead to a winning record.
“I’m looking forward to having a great season and bonding with the team,” Hilf said, “Our preseason really helps us to develop and get motivated for the season ahead.”
Athletes have to work as a single entity in order to develop their skills. As the teammates grow closer to one another, their ability as a team increases. Unity creates lasting relationships at GL, and preseason is a key part of the teams’ unity.
When the GL athletes find their flow, all of their hard work pays off. The student athletes at Governor Livingston have the persistence and ambition to work their hardest in preseason to see results in their sports and otherwise.
One of the newest sports at GL, Girls Volleyball, found its flow during their first preseason last year. Ally Reiner and Georgia Minks, two seniors on the newly created team, recognize the effort needed for success.
“Preseason is a lot of hard work but in the end it all pays off because it makes us stronger on and off the court,” Reiner said. Minks added, “It’s essential to improve our skills and condition our bodies so we can play hard and leave everything on the court.”
Three seniors on the Girls’ Varsity Soccer team have had unforgettable memories during preseason throughout their years at GL.
Highlander goalie Olivia Emmanuel commented on her experiences throughout preseason, “I made a lot of new friends from the team. It was always great to welcome different players to the team.”
Regarding the positives of preseason, Vanessa Candeloro said, “Preseason is the perfect way to get back in shape and ready for the rest of the fall season.” Lindsay DiStaso, who’s had three years of experience on the Varsity team, then added, “It also helps to refine our skills and be prepared for tough competition.”
The Highlanders have high hopes for the upcoming season. The fall ambiance is kicking in and the seniors are excited for what comes next in their athletic careers.
Brigit Wolf, another senior for the Cross Country team at GL, said, “This season I am looking forward to long runs in the reservation and hopefully having the team advance to the group championships.”
Hard work, dedication, and enthusiasm define the Highlander athletic community. Preseason itself is the basis of growth for the fall sports at GL. It builds character and sets up teams for success in their seasons. A team, in the midst of preseason, becomes a family.
Senior of the Governor Livingston Football Team, Anthony Wong, commented on the overall feelings regarding teamwork at GL.
“We all work really hard during preseason and it will definitely pay off on the field. I think we all have good work ethic and enjoy being together as a team,” Wong stated, “Anything from training with our strength and conditioning coach, Coach Matthes, to practicing 7 on 7 is fun as long as you’re with your family. We should have a great season this year.”
Last year GL’s fall teams found success in one way or another throughout their season. GL won a sectional title in soccer, sent a cross country runner to the Meet of Champions, beat New Providence in the Thanksgiving Day Football Game, and more. The Highlanders look to expand on this success and take home more victories for GL in 2015.
These athletes have found their groove throughout their many years of preseason. Four years ago, they made a mark by joining the Highlander family and have impacted GL’s sports since. Preseason will always be a memory for both upper and lower classmen, as they have spent hours dedicating their time to improve and grow as students in the Governor Livingston community.