About 40 volleyball hopefuls, with their sights set on someday playing on the Lady Longhorn varsity squad, showed up July 1 and 2 to fine tune their skills in the Payson Volleyball Youth Camp hosted by coach Arnold Stonebrink and several of his players.
All the campers will enter fifth through ninth grade next school year and some will be candidates for the Rim Country Middle School teams.
During the camp sessions, which were held two hours each morning and two hours in the afternoon, the girls were schooled in the nuances of the sport including overhand serves, spiking, footwork, serve receiving, bumping, passing and blocking.
While the group wasn’t as large as the 70-plus that turned out last summer, Stonebrink was elated with the turnout, saying it was good in light of today’s economic climate.
The girls paid $30 each to participate.
A week prior to the youth camp, a group of 20 high school players, many of them candidates for next year’s varsity team, participated in the All-American Camp in Wilson Dome.
“Our girls did great and worked their tails off,” said Stonebrink.
On hand to instruct the campers were two former collegiate standouts.
Emilie Stewart played at USC and Fordham and Amanda Omar was a team member of Southwest Missouri State before joining a professional team in Finland. Omar has also played on the AVP Pro Beach Tour
“They gave some great instruction, the girls learned a lot,” Stonebrink said.
In addition to the PHS players serving as coaches at the youth camp and enrolling in the All-American sessions, the girls traveled last week to Lakeside where Payson entered three teams in the Blue Ridge Summer Invitational.
“The A team did okay, not great, and finished tied for ninth,” said Stonebrink. “The B team did quite well, knocking off some varsity teams and finishing 13th (of 34 teams).”
The C team, which was comprised mostly of freshmen, managed a third-place finish in the consolation bracket.
“They did really well,” Stonebrink said.
Following the teams’ return to Payson, the coach praised twin sisters Megan and Kaitlin Wessel, who will be sophomores at PHS next school year.
“Megan led the team in passing and serving, and Kaitlin led in hitting,” Stonebrink said. “The future is looking bright.”