Field hockey season ended for Tasha Klares on Nov. 14 in the Maryland 2A championship game. The next afternoon, the Patuxent senior was in the gymnasium for the first day of basketball practice.

Never mind that this is Klares's third varsity basketball season. After the first practice, she felt like a rookie.

"I guess I thought I was in shape," she said. "When you get into the gym, it's a whole different ballgame. You use your calf muscles more in basketball because of the jumping.

"I was physically and emotionally tired."

For athletes who play different sports, the change of seasons can be startling to their bodies. Being "in shape" takes on different meanings from sport to sport because each sport puts stress on different muscle groups.

"In order to be a good athlete, you have to have a good work ethic," said Calvert senior Whitney Johnson, who plays volleyball and basketball. "It takes a different kind of athlete to be able to switch from sport to sport."

It can take a couple of weeks for an athlete to get those muscles in shape.

"Wrestling requires a lot more muscles that you don't normally use," said Lackey senior Josh Briscoe, who is finishing up the football season before heading over to the wrestling mat. He said wrestlers need to use their abdominal, neck and upper leg muscles more than football players. "After the first couple of weeks, you realize, 'Man, I'm out of shape.' "

Then there is the issue of endurance.

"It's tough," said McDonough senior Preston Faulk, who is the midst of changing from a wide receiver in football to shooting guard in basketball, "because in football, you go out and have a play, and then you have a break [until the next play]. In basketball, it's back and forth nonstop."

Even the same action can be strikingly different from one sport to another. Take jumping, for example. Johnson does that plenty, whether she's playing volleyball in the fall or basketball in the winter.

But Johnson's jumps in the winter are a lot more stressful.

"Jumping in basketball, you're coming down with more force on your legs," she said. "You've got people coming down with you and around you. In volleyball, it's just you jumping and coming down."

Wrestlers have a special sense of pride in the athleticism required by their sport. Aside from meeting weight, wrestlers, at some point in the season, will call on a muscle they never knew existed.

"Wrestling is a lot more demanding than football," said Westlake senior Jon Brown, who played offensive line for the Wolverines before getting ready to wrestle at 189 pounds. "Thirty seconds of a wrestling match is equal to a whole football game to me. You figure, [in football] it's five seconds a play and 10 plays a game. I've got a lot of down time in there, too.

"In wrestling, it's the toughest six minutes in sports."

Northern's Collin Leadbeter figured playing soccer in the fall built up his endurance for wrestling season just fine. The constant running that soccer provides gets an added kick from the conditioning required by wrestling. The contact in wrestling makes it even tougher to stay in peak shape for the duration of each match.

"The running we do is pretty much the same," Leadbeter said. "In wrestling, it's a couple of miles on the tracks and then maybe [up and down the] stairs. But then we go wrestle."

For Brown, it's that conditioning that makes the first couple of weeks of the season the biggest challenge.

"It's basically the conditioning," Brown said. "The technique is already there. I have to be able to go from one more to another. Coaches can teach you technique, but they can't teach you conditioning. That's something you have to do yourself."

Left, wrestler Collin Leadbeter of Northern High checks the clock with La Plata's Steven Gilliam upended in last year's Patriot Classic. Above, Leadbeter battles Lackey's Joel Lopiccolo for control during a soccer game last year. Leadbeter says soccer helps prepare him for the wrestling season.