BENNINGTON >> First days at any new job or school can be terrifying.
But not for new Mount Anthony lacrosse coach Mark Lange.
On Monday, the first full day of spring sports practice for Vermont schools, Lange — who got the job in October — finally got a chance to have his players on the field.
Last season, the Patriots were 12-5 and bowed out in the Division I quarterfinals, but with six seniors and two handfuls of juniors, the MAU contingent should be strong in 2016.
In fact, in Lange's first meeting on the field with his team, he made one of his goals clear:
"I want to be at Castleton in June."
That's the site of the state championship.
"I'm excited to be back at the high school level," Lange said. "College is much different and I wanted to get back to teaching and working with kids — kids that want to be here for the right reasons."
Lange, who is from the Pittsfield, Mass., area, played lacrosse in high school and at Curry College in Massachusetts, graduating in 2003. After college, he coached at Wayland High School near Boston, then had jobs at Anna Maria College and Green Mountain College, where he was before getting the Mount Anthony job in October.
"At our first meeting, we had 36 kids, which is great," Lange said. "We had some off-season work, the captains led indoor box [lacrosse] sessions, we participated in scrimmages at Riley Rink with Rutland and BBA. There's been nothing but excitement for the season."
Lange takes over for Paul Reif, who coached the past four seasons for the Patriots, going 46-25. Reif is now an assistant coach at the University of Arizona.
But Reif hasn't forgotten about the Patriots and Lange said he and Reif have gotten to know each other during the transition.
"Paul did a great job here, I've gotten to know him from afar," Lange said. "The numbers are awesome and that's on Paul and Chris Shea with the youth program. Paul did a great job building the culture — the kids want to be playing indoor lacrosse, they want to have a stick in their hand. I want to keep that going and add our own stuff to make it my program."
Mount Anthony's season begins April 5 at Glens Falls, N.Y. The home opener is April 13 at the Vermont Vets Home Field against rival Burr and Burton Academy.