There’s nothing better than a not-quite championship season to put the future in focus.

Especially on the first official day of the spring sports seasons for the high school lacrosse teams at Cape Elizabeth and the boys’ track and field squad at Cheverus.

“The feeling is that coming that close to beating the team that ended up being state champions just gives us that much more motivation,” said Adam Haversat, a senior defender for Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ lacrosse team.

Monday was the first day of practice for full spring sport teams. Baseball and softball pitchers and catchers were allowed to start on March 18.

Sure, it was a little chilly, but Haversat and a few other Capers ignored the thermometer and chose sleeveless mesh practice jerseys as their attire.

“It’s about 40 degrees. That’s like 70 for me,” Haversat laughed.

Cape lost to Falmouth 11-10 in last year’s Western Class B final.

Senior attack Alex Bornick said there is a strong sense of purpose this year. He saw it in captains’ practices, and again on Monday.

“I think we’ve got a lot of committed kids,” Bornick said. “They want to get better, and there’s a lot of good leadership from the freshmen through the senior classes.”

As the Cape boys were finishing at one end of their artificial surface field, the girls were just beginning their second practice of the season.

Senior All-American Lauren Steidl, one of 10 returning starters, said she had no trouble waking up for a 5:30 a.m. conditioning practice, a first-week tradition for the program.

“Actually, I had some trouble going to sleep, to be honest,” Steidl said. “I’m always so excited the day before our first morning practice. Honestly, I love this team. My best friends are on it and we just love playing together. We have a lot of fun playing together.”

The Cape girls went to triple overtime before being eliminated in the Western Class B final by Waynflete.

“Everyone’s excited. It’s not just me. It’s not just Lauren or the other captains,” said fellow senior captain Talley Perkins, who scored 50 goals as a junior. “Everyone all the way down to my little sister (Maisie), who’s a freshman, is excited. I think we can do it this year.”

Last year’s heartbreak is now a teaching tool.

“Remembering what we did well in that game, and trying to recreate that and expand on that, hopefully that will land us in the championship at Fitzpatrick (Stadium),” Steidl said.

At Cheverus, the boys’ track team was able to get in an hour of outdoor activity before heading indoors for sweat-soaked weight training and conditioning.

“We come to work. We’re no joke,” senior Mike Orne said. “We don’t like to fool around.”

Cheverus was the Class A runner-up last year. The Stags also finished second in the recent indoor season.

Cheverus believes this spring is its championship time. The squad is led by a strong group of seniors, including defending javelin champ Matt Cushing, the versatile Orne, indoor 800 champ Brady Foshay, and sprinters Jimmy Campbell and Jackson McMann.

“The first day is a little different than just another day because we know we can do it this year,” McMann said. “It’s just a different feeling. I mean, I’ve been here before. This is my eighth track season, and I could definitely tell. There’s just something different about it with the amount of talent we have.”

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at:

scraig@mainetoday.com

Twitter: StevenCCraig