MONTICELLO (WCIA) — The first football practice for the Monticello Sages Monday morning barely involved a football. The team spent the majority of its opening workout in the gym, taking measurements, recording base line tests and going through agility drills. It’s not the “normal first day” most teams experience, but it’s important for head coach Cully Welter. And no one is arguing his success, winning four state titles.
The word “normal” seems like a long time ago now after COVID-19 wreaked havoc on high school sports in 2020-21 but teams across the state took a big step back towards that on Monday with the first official practices.
The Sages lose 10 seniors from last year’s perfect 6-0 team that competed in the COVID-19 shortened spring season. That number grows this fall, with 13 seniors leading the way, as Monticello returns six offensive starters and four on the defense.
“We had a good year, we thought the kids played with a good mentality, and had a lot of fun,” Welter said. “I hope our kids carry that on into the season as well, but of course you have some things to overcome, you lose some pretty good players, and you do have to build a little bit from scratch as well.”
“Looking forward to winning games and just playing football since last year we had a shortened season,” Monticello senior linebacker Ashton Wassom said. “I was kind of down about that, I’m just looking forward to doing as best we can.”