By DAVID CLAYBOURN
From about 30 to 137.
That’s how much the Greenville Lady Lions volleyball camp going on this week has grown in just one year. There’s so many campers ages 7 to 14 that Lady Lions head coach Amanda Marek and her assistants have to divide the players up into three groups to work on the main gymnasium floor at Greenville High School and the two practice gyms.
“It’s been good,” said Marek. “I guess the biggest thing is seeing so many players start early for our program.”
Many of the players will be attending school in the Greenville Independent School starting in August but the camp has also drawn in girls from the Greenville Christian School, Lone Oak and some that are homeschooled.
The camp has been running smoothly, according to Marek.
“We’ve had no problems,” she said. “They’re all participating and working hard. I’m happy with what I’m seeing. Everybody’s been in good spirits, even the little ones. They seem to be having a lot of fun.”
Ellie Fields, 11, used the word “awesome” to describe her experience at the camp.
“We’ve been passing, serving and blocking the ball,” she said. “I like passing.”
Preslie Hoy, 9, said she’s enjoyed “serving and games.”
Hoy’s older sister, Savannah Himes, is a member of the Lady Lions’ varsity volleyball and basketball programs. Preslie admits she’s not as good a player as her older sister is now but wants to be as good or better. How will she reach that goal?
“Keep practicing,” she said.
Malorie Kilgore spoke about her experience with the camp.
“I learned how to work as a team and I learned how to be a better player and I learned how to hit, spike,” she said.
Blanca Saavedra, one of the Lady Lions’ assistant coaches, has been working with the incoming freshmen and some of the junior high students.
“They’ve been fun,” she said. “A lot of fun. There’s a lot of talent. They listen really well.”
This is the biggest camp put on by the City of Greenville Parks and Recreation Department during recent years.
“Our football camp last year was 122 to 127,” said Brett Quarles, recreation manager of the Parks and Recreation Department. “I expect the football camp this year to be close (to that number). I think the tennis camp (starts Monday) is full. We had to cut it off at 30.”
Quarles said the city’s summer sports camps, including track and field and basketball, have brought in 297 kids.
Why such a big turnout for the volleyball camp?
“I believe that it is the direct result of the GISD, City of Greenville Parks and Recreation Department and the Boys and Girls Club working together with the common goal of getting more children involved with these activities,” said Quarles. “We were able to offer a $20 camp to the community that had professional coaches and brought a sense of community to the camp. We are very grateful to have been able to be involved with this and hope it’s something we offer for years to come.”