Strong turnout for fall high school sports

BAR HARBOR — With the end of August fast approaching, coaches, athletes and administrators at Mount Desert Island High School have been busy at all hours of the day.

Whether it’s football and soccer in the wee hours of the morning or volleyball in the evening, practices in Bar Harbor are in full swing. Before long, fans and students will be congregating in bleachers and gymnasiums for the first regular season games.

“These early practices are important because the season is right there in front of you,” head football coach Mark Arnold said. “You get started the middle of the month, and then you’re already scrimmaging and playing exhibition games within a week or so.”

The participation rate for the fall season at MDI has already seen a big boost from 2017. The football team has gone up from 32 players last season to 35 this year, and girls’ soccer has increased from 25 to 33.

“We had a big jump this year, which is always great to see,” head girls’ soccer coach May Dow said. “It gives you more options as a coach.”

In football, MDI graduated one of its most experienced classes in years last season. Yet the departure of that group hasn’t dampened the school’s enthusiasm for the team, which has been able to add new players at the high school level.

“A few years ago, we were wondering what the numbers were going to look like around this point because we had a few freshman classes in a row coming in with low numbers,” Arnold said at the team’s opening practice last Monday. “Being able to build up those numbers here at the school like that says a lot about the program here.”

Football and boys’ soccer held scrimmages Monday, and another round is scheduled for the coming days. The varsity boys’ and girls’ soccer teams will play Orono on the road and at home, respectively, at 5 p.m. Aug. 23, and football will host Ellsworth Sumner at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24. The soccer teams will then head to southern Maine on Saturday for a day full of games.

Preseason scrimmages and exhibitions will continue through Wednesday, Aug. 29. The regular season will officially start the following day when the golf team travels to Machias for a 4 p.m. match.

“We’re getting close,” Arnold said. “Whether you have a lot of experience or a lot of new kids, every player and every team has to come together fast.”

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected]

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