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August 2, 2010
By CHASE YOUNG - Bulletin Sports Writer

Carlisle School kicked off its soccer and field hockey seasons one minute after midnight Sunday at the Smith River Sports Complex.

About 75 people stayed up late for the school's first Midnight Madness event. In addition to officially opening practice for both teams, it was a fundraiser that allowed alumni to reconnect with one another and Carlisle, said Hugh Haskins, director of development for the school.

"It was a tremendous success," Haskins said. "I just think we pulled the event off, and it was a great success as far as creating a buzz for both programs.

"We're going to make it an annual event every year," he added.

Despite rain, which Haskins said probably kept a number of fans and alumni from attending, the event drew about 75 fans, 15 of whom were alumni, and raised about $500, he said.

"I think the weather hurt our fundraising efforts, but it definitely didn't dampen the fun or excitement," said Haskins.

In accordance with Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association rules, practice for fall sports could not begin until 12:01 a.m. Sunday. This year, coaches and players didn't waste any time getting started.

Both teams' coaches said Midnight Madness is something they hope to do again.

"I would love to see it in the future, now that we have the first one under our belt," said field hockey coach Meade Seiy. "I thought it was great for the girls, and I'm sure the boys enjoyed it on their side."

In what both Seiy and boys' soccer coach Harry Lance considered a "fun and exciting" event, the two teams split a field in half and ran through a series of light warm-ups with current athletes before running scrimmages in which alumni were invited to take part.

"I thought it was a neat way to ease into the regular practice schedule, and we mainly just wanted to make it a fun environment," said Lance.

With both teams beginning traditional practices today and little time before they begin battling opposing schools, both coaches said Midnight Madness was a good way to create excitement about the upcoming season.

"Having them all back together officially was good to see where we are, where we need to be," said Seiy.

The Lady Chiefs, who capped an undefeated (16-0 overall) season last year with the school's second VISAA state title, have about two weeks before they compete in the Mount Tabor Tournament on Aug. 14 at Mount Tabor High School in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The soccer team will take the field for its first game of the season Aug. 23 against New Covenant in Lynchburg.