Technically, the Sean Masoncup era at St. Charles North opened when school officials named him new girls basketball coach on June 3.
Masoncup’s footprint then took greater shape with summer camp and league play, creating an effective imprint entering Monday’s first day of practice.
Masoncup doesn’t disagree on that point, but he’ll always argue there’s no better stamp on a season than when sneakers screech on hardwood for the first time in November.
“It’s nice to finally get it started,” Masoncup said. “Yeah, we had the summer, but this was the first official one. It was a whirlwind making sure all three levels had everything going, but it was a lot of fun. I thought the girls were really excited to get out on the court.”
A North boys assistant for the past five seasons, Masoncup takes over for former coach Colleen Backer, who resigned in April after four seasons. The North Stars finished 9-20 in 2012-13.
Masoncup, who’s also North’s boys tennis coach, was a prep athlete at Geneva before turning to teaching. He has more than a decade of experience in District 303, and taught much of North’s current roster as a member of the Haines Middle School physical education and health staff – including junior Nicole Davidson and sophomore Morgan Rosencrants.
Calling tryouts “the least favorite week for a coach,” Masoncup envisions making the full scope of his workouts on display soon enough.
“It’s close right now,” he said. “With the varsity you sort of know, you have an idea, and obviously we’re evaluating every day. But we’re starting to install stuff. … I would venture to say by the end of next week we’ll have everything in and be ready to go full speed going into the York Thanksgiving Tournament.”
Dogged pursuit: Batavia jumped from 13 to 18 victories in its second season under coach Kevin Jensen despite having a roster of just eight players.
With upperclassmen numbers again looking dicey as practices start, Jensen is prepared for a repeat.
“I’d be comfortable with it again because I know it can be done,” he said. “I’d sure love to have 10, though.”
Senior Division I commits Liza Fruendt (Missouri State) and Erin Bayram (Boston University) look to fill go-to roles again and keep the Bulldogs on the upswing. Jensen, also an assistant for the football team that’s preparing for a Class 6A second-round playoff game Saturday at Rolling Meadows, knows the duo can lead off the court, too.
Both Fruendt and Bayram are active as organizers for Batavia’s Dog Pound student section.
“They were already excited anyway, but when your fall sports across the board have some nice success, it’s a lot of fun even if there aren’t all that many people who cross over,” Jensen said.
Loebel able: Shifty senior point guard Michaela Loebel, who suffered a torn ACL in the fourth game of last season, was a welcome sight at Geneva practice.
“Everybody’s healthy. Everybody worked hard. The basic kids are back,” Vikings coach Sarah Meadows said.