1. Off and running: Four more high school sports kick off their seasons this week, joining golf which started Aug. 6. Girls tennis starts its season today. Field hockey, soccer (boys and girls) and volleyball can play their first games on Saturday. Cross country (boys and girls) starts Aug. 19.
2. Pigskin Preview in Oxford: Miami University hosts its annual Pigskin Preview and Cookout on Saturday. The event is highlighted by an intra-squad scrimmage at 11:15 a.m. An autograph session and Kids Zone activities start at 1 p.m. Coach Don Treadwell and select players host a cookout at 2 p.m. (advanced RSVP or limited number of walk-up tickets available). A yard sale runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., offering helmets, locker room stools, jerseys, t-shirts and other items. All activities take place at Yager Stadium.
3. Lions on prowl for playoffs: The Dayton Dutch Lions men’s soccer team hosts its final home game of the season on Saturday. Dayton (9-9-7) is still in the playoff hunt with this week’s USL Pro games playing a key role. Dayton hosts Harrisburg (14-9-2) at 7:30 p.m. at Beavercreek High School. The Lions would likely need a win or a draw against the Islanders to qualify for the USL Pro playoffs for the first time in their three-year history in the league.
4. NASCAR returns to Ohio: The NASCAR Nationwide Series roars into Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Friday and Saturday. It’s the Nationwide Series’ first visit to Ohio and comes on the heels of the Camping World Truck Series’ historic visit to Eldora Speedway. Austin Dillon, the winner at Eldora, holds a slim three-point lead over Sam Hornish Jr. in the standings. Hornish enters as the home-state favorite, growing up in Defiance. The top five drivers in the standings — Dillon, Hornish, Regan Smith, Elliott Sadler and Brian Vickers — are all separated by just 18 points. Two practice sessions are Friday with qualifying (9:30 a.m.) and the Children’s Hospital 200 (2 p.m.) on Saturday.
5. Big cats in ’Boro: Planning ahead for next week, the Bengals take training camp to Miami Valley fans with a practice on Monday, Aug. 19, at Springboro High School. The free session begins at 5:30 p.m. and is open to the public (no passes or tickets required). Parking is $5 and early arrival is suggested with anticipated traffic congestion. Before practice, coach Marvin Lewis and select players will meet with Springboro’s football team. Seating capacity at Springboro is about 5,000 and additional standing room is available (no folding chairs permitted). Concessions and Bengals gear will be available for purchase, but fans are allowed to bring small soft-sided coolers, food and unopened bottles of water. The Bengals will be available for autographs after the practice session.