By Jordan Kroeger, SunCoast Sports
The 2017 football season is set to get underway in the state of Florida.
Charlotte, Lemon Bay, North Port and Port Charlotte will all get after it on Monday for the first time. The Manta Rays will rise and shine for practice at 6 a.m. while the Bobcats will tackle the new season at 8 a.m., Charlotte at 8:30 and the Pirates strapping in at 12:30 p.m.
But football isn’t the only sport to start practice on Monday. The rest of the fall sports — volleyball, cross country, golf and swimming — also can start workouts for their new seasons.
Charlotte returns as the area’s top volleyball team from last year when it won a district title and advanced to the region final.
Lemon Bay had the area’s top girls runner in Kelsi Ogilvie while North Port produced the area’s top boys runner in Louis Dietrich, but both graduated. Look out for new talent this year on the cross country courses.
The Sun’s boys golfer of the year Jake Haas graduated this spring but Port Charlotte’s Marc Kaneko-Fuji is a name to keep an eye on in 2017. Kaneko-Fuji was the area’s lone golfer to qualify for the state tournament in 2016.
Meadow Southworth could also qualify for state on the girls course after being named the Sun’s girls golfer of the year as a freshman last fall.
Dylan Hacker, last year’s Sun’s boys swimmer of the year, returns for his junior season at Charlotte while Hunter Scott, the Sun’s two-time girls swimmer of the year, is back for her senior season at Lemon Bay.
All fall sports begin play during the week of Aug. 21.