By Greg Perkins–
School has been back in session for nearly two full weeks now and Holbrook High School athletes have been going through the rigors of early season tryouts and conditioning as all the fall sports teams prepare to get their 2011-12 seasons underway.
Football and volleyball are heading into the uncharted waters of the new AIA alignment, which will be in place for at least the next two years. Cross country teams will be in their second season of the new divisional alignment, and both the boys’ and girls’ soccer programs pretty much stayed with their previous leagues with only minor adjustments.
First year head coach Curtis Berger takes over the reins of the Roadrunner football program and has already had to make some adjustments due to some early season injuries. The Roadrunners have spent the past several years in the 3A North, but will now face four former powerful 3A East opponents plus Winslow and St. Johns, both solid programs.
Holbrook plays in the new Division IV and will only play Window Rock, Chinle and Winslow from its prior conference. The Birds will host Ganado and Tuba City in a three-team scrimmage tonight (Aug. 19) at Roadrunner Stadium, with action getting underway at 5 p.m. They open their regular season at Snowflake on Aug. 26, then travel to Winslow on Sept. 2. Their first actual home game will be on Sept. 9 when Alchesay makes a visit.
Leslie Baldonado is once again in charge in the gym where the Lady Roadrunner volleyball team is preparing to make a huge statement this season. Playing in Division IV, Holbrook is one of the larger schools in the division, and Coach Baldonado has a veteran staff and a veteran team returning. The squad still has a week to prepare for scrimmage matches at home on Aug. 26. The Lady Birds open their regular season with back to back home matches, welcoming Window Rock on Aug. 30 and Blue Ridge on Aug. 31. On Sept. 2nd they will see heavy action at the Payson Invitational tournament.
Cross country Coach Tim Yazzie has his troops out running hills, backroads, streets and alleys as they prepare for the start of their season, which will begin at the Hopi Invitational meet on Aug. 30. The following week they run at the Peaks Invitational in Flagstaff.
The boys’ soccer team is once again under the tutelage of Dave Wright, who has been the only coach since the inception of the program. This season Coach Wright has nearly 30 players vying for spots on a varsity squad. The team will host Round Valley in a scrimmage match on Aug. 27, then open the season at Snowflake on Sept. 1.
Cary Simpson heads up the girls’ soccer team. They have smaller numbers than the boys at this point, and will also host Round Valley in a scrimmage match on Aug. 27, then open the season on the road at Snowflake on Sept. 1.
Most of the coaches are still putting pieces of their respective puzzles together and expect to have their rosters set by early next week.