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Farmington High School fall sport teams are not letting the dog days of summer hold them back as they prepare for their seasons to begin.

Amongst the school’s athletic teams who have spent most of July preparing for a new season is the Knight’s soccer teams. Beginning his second year at the helm, head coach Addae Rique worked with his boys’ and girls’ teams in preparing them to be at their best when league play begins.

“We used our 25 contact days over the course of the summer to practice,” Rique said. “We included everyone, both the boys and the girls, so they could work on conditioning, skills and touching the ball.”

According to Rique, his summer practices had good attendance with typically 18 to 20 players on the field and readied his teams for the start of a new season.

“We would practice four days a week and on Monday and Wednesday would work in the room,” Rique said. “Our biggest goal was to get the players stronger.”

With most of his players returning, including eight returning seniors, the head coach has higher expectations for his team.

“Most of the players have been with me for a year now,” Rique said. “I think things will run much smoother this year. We have players who did well last year and I am expecting them to do well again. I think we will have a strong season this year.”

For tennis coach Andrew Cantor, the third week of June was devoted to Farmington’s tennis team taking to the newly constructed courts at Engler Park and getting back into practice of just hitting the ball.

According to Cantor, the camp was open to both boys and girls, but it is the girls’ team that begins their season at the beginning of the school year and the boys finish play at the end of the year.

“Although the girls’ season starts at the beginning of the year, the boys can always come out as well,” Cantor said. “Although we usually get more girls, I always have it for Farmington tennis teams.”

During camp, Cantor has two basic goals - to teach new players the game and to get returning players back on the courts.

“In camp, we get the returning players back into the routine of organized play,” Cantor said. “With the new players, we get a chance to give them instructions, so they can play the rest of the summer the correct way.”

Although camp was only a week long, Cantor was not too worried about the lack of time spent with his team.

“Since tennis is more of an individual sport, our kids can play on their own and still be successful,” Cantor said. “Camp helps everyone. It gets our newcomers use to hitting the ball and it gets our returning players hitting again.”

With the start of the girls’ season just weeks away, Cantor is hoping for a repeat of last year when they won their second Class II District I championship.

“We are going for three in row,” Cantor said. “Everyone is up for the challenge, and if they play up to their potential, I think we will do real well and possibly win the championship for a third time.”

For the Farmington volleyball team, summer camp was a bit different than other sports. Both varsity and junior varsity actually competed in two different tournaments.

While hosting a tournament at Farmington High School, the team was able to compete against some of the teams they will see during season play.

“In our tournament, a team will play six to eight full play games,” said Julie Ward, the school’s head coach. “We saw some teams we will play like Ste. Genevieve High School and Valle Catholic High School.”

To participate in the second tournament, the Knights took to the road and played in Rolla, Missouri where they competed in top level tournament play against teams from Missouri and Arkansas.

“In Rolla, we made it to the semi-final round before getting beat,” Ward said. “But did well and we competed against teams we would not see in our league, such as South Side High from Arkansas, which was the team we lost to. They have gone to the final four in this tournament 13 times. It was good competition, and it’s the type of competition we need to see.”

Ward’s goal for the summer was two-fold. First, the head coach want to get the players that are moving up from junior varsity to get use to varsity play, and second, she hopes summer play will help build chemistry between the players.

Ward’s expectation for the Knights is pretty simple - she wants them to win.

“We want to win as many games as possible,” Ward said. “I want them to play hard every night. If they do that, they will be able to compete every night against any team.”

The Farmington High School football team also took to the field this summer and participated in two separate camps to ready themselves for another season of grid iron action.

“In June, we focused on strength and conditioning,” said coach Erik Kruppe. “We only wore helmets, no pads, and centered on introductory concepts.”

Following the June camp, the Knights participated in a two-week contact camp that focused on field more than strength and conditioning.

“Our two-week contact camp was more football based,” Kruppe stated. “We shifted to an on field action. The kids did a good job grasping the offense and defense that we were teaching in June which allows us to move at a quicker pace during contact week.”

During the summer, Kruppe and his staff had a couple of goals they were determined to reach.

“We want to increase our physicality in the running game,” Kruppe said. “We graduated several players last years, so we are also wanting some of our returning players to step up and take on a bigger role.”

A key factor in most successful football program is having a strong leader as quarterback. This year, the Knights have two players in contention for that starting role. Returning senior quarterback is Brandt Busenbark and junior quarterback Cody Friedmeyer are both vying for the position.

Entering his third year as a head coach, Kruppe thinks his grid iron Knights are doing well.

“We are definitely not where we want to be, but there is not a team in the state that is,” Kruppe said. “But we are doing well.”

The Knights open on the road this year with the team’s first match up against Ladue Horton Watkins High School on Aug. 22. They will meet their rivals, North County Raiders, at Haile Memorial Stadium on Aug. 28.

Craig Vaughn is a reporter for the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3629 or at cvaughn@farmingtonpressonline.com

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