Football not only sport starting

While the school's football and softball teams braved 90-degree temperatures Monday, the Jonesboro volleyball team was comfortably practicing in its new air conditioned gymnasium.

All three teams were starting preparation for their upcoming seasons.

Monday was the first official day that the Georgia High School Association allowed football, cross country, softball and volleyball teams to start practice.

While football usually makes the headlines, the other sports' participants eagerly went through drills to sharpen their skills.

The Lady Cardinals volleyball team is the defending area and county champion. The Dan Maehlman-coached team reached the Class AAAA Elite 8 for the first time in school history. Jonesboro compiled a 37-11 record and finished the season ranked No. 10 in its classification in the final coaches' poll.

Maehlman said the team will conclude tryouts today before he sets his roster for the upcoming season. Under GHSA rules, volleyball teams can begin playing matches on Aug. 12.

However, softball teams will not have that much time. Games can begin on Aug. 8.

If the Lady Cardinals volleyball team is to make another long playoff run, it must replace outside hitters Kayla Dowdell and Jennifer Evans. Maehlman received some bad news Monday when setter Briana Benson showed up in the middle of tryouts on crutches, after sustaining a knee injury during her final AAU game this summer.

Her status is still unknown. She has a doctor's appointment this morning to learn the extent of the injury.

Rebuilding is nothing new for Maehlman. At the beginning of last season, he had to replace five seniors. Despite the rebuilding, Jonesboro managed to win the county championship for the 10th straight season. Replacing Dowdell and Evans, who earned college scholarships, will be the focus as the team prepares for the season.

Ola will be going for its fourth straight Henry County title this season.

In cross country, the big storyline will be the development of Eagle's Landing sophomore Bailey Roth, who won national championships this summer in the 1,500 and 3,000 meters.