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The first day of practices and tryouts of the fall sports season got underway Wednesday for the athletes of St. Mary’s County public high schools. For the seniors, however, Wednesday was the first “last” of their upcoming senior year.

Wednesday’s tryouts represented the last time that seniors across the county would step into a high school fall sports tryout. And, for many of the seniors, Wednesday also represented a chance to put their early imprints on their respective teams.

“I think on the first day, a lot of the seniors want to get leadership going,” said senior Ryan Hor, a Leonardtown Raiders boys soccer aspirant. “Not necessarily pounding them [underclassmen] on the first day, but get them realizing what our goals are for the season and get us working toward it. ... Mediocrity isn’t enough.”

Hor is looking to land on the varsity squad for the third time of his four-year career. He has come in with a different mindset and plan when it come to tryouts through the years, and Wednesday was no different.

“There’s a different goal every year,” he said. “Freshman year, you’re worried about just making the team and stuff. Sophomore year, I came in and wanted to play varsity my sophomore year.

“Junior year, you’re working for a starting spot. This year, it’s all about leadership and getting your roles solidified and working out with people to get the right chemistry going.”

Bryce Morrison, Hor’s senior counterpart, has been looking forward to this first day of fall sports practice for a long time.

“Since I got to high school and even before,” he said. “It’s senior year, and it has always been the goal to get to, possibly, being a captain and doing everything I can.”

And being a senior, even before the first day of tryouts and practice, lends itself to large amounts of dedication, even if that means not traveling away for the summer but perfecting your craft, such was the case for Chopticon field hockey aspirant Savanna Angel.

“I was helping with hockey camps and doing lots of things with hockey, conditioning one of them,” said Angel, a senior, on how she spent her entire summer. Then she added on why. “I just love it. It’s fun.”

Regardless of how she spent the summer, the few months of fun in the sun will become a distant memory as the sports year is here.

“I’m very excited,” Angel said. “It’s going to be my last season, I’m nervous for tryouts right now, but I am excited because I love the coaches, and we’re like a family here.”

Despite being on the field already for more than an hour at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Christie Norton, also a Braves field hockey hopeful, was happy to be there.

“It feels amazing,” Norton said. “We did the hardest part this morning, and now we’re done with that for tryouts, and everyone feels good.”

Norton also did not spend the summer in stereotypical summer fashion, playing on travel teams and serving as an at-home nurse for a neighbor. She has been thinking about Wednesday for a long time.

“[I’ve been thinking about it] since it ended in November last year,” Norton said. “Chopticon field hockey is like a family. [Head coach Anne Vallandingham] and the other coaches are like mothers to us.”

And in the first week of practices, win totals for the season are not thought of quite yet as the simple goal is to make the team before thinking about winning games.

“Well, I want to see everyone do their best because if you give half performance here, you’re not going to give full effort on the field,” Norton said of the first-day goals. “Even though this seems redundant and pointless, you have to give all you have here to show them that you can make it on the field.”

jmccray@somdnews.com