By CT McDonald


With the new school year just weeks away, student athletes, coaches, team staff and others are already working to be ready for the first days of the 2017-2018 season.

The first day for teachers is August 16, according to Lexington Richland District Five information, and the first day for most students is a week later, August 23. Half of the little guys — 4K students — start August 30, and the other half August 31. Then they will all be attending the following day, Friday, the first day of September.

District Five school start-up is sandwiched between the August 21 total eclipse and September 4 Labor Day festivities.

But preparations are already in progress, and for athletic teams that means practice, scrimmage games and then preseason jamborees and tournaments.

With fall practice having recently started, teams now move into the preseason scrimmage phase of preparations. Varsity football teams are able to start scrimmaging this week, on Thursday, according to South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) rules, and all other sports teams may start on Friday. Fall high school sports includes football, girls tennis, girls golf, volleyball, cross country, swimming and competitive cheer.

As before, teams practice under the “Fall Pre-Season Practice Plan” of the SCHSL, a set of recommendations endorsed by the South Carolina Athletic Trainers Association (SCATA) which includes guidelines by the Inter-Association Task Force for Preseason Secondary School Athletics, a collaboration of expert organizations including — but not limited to — Gatorade Sports Science, the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics. (More information at, if desired.)

According to the SCHSL, the first official regular season contests/games of the new year start with swimming August 14, followed by Week “0” for varsity football August 18, then volleyball, girls tennis and girls golf August 21, followed by Week 1 for varsity football August 25, and then cross country and competitive cheer August 28.

And then a new year of high school sports, academics and other extracurricular activities will be up-and-running, and it will roll on until late spring/early summer next year.