By Stephen Smoot
While golf balls still fly around Fisher Mountain, as Wildcat gridiron warriors prepare for their first week of hot, sweating two-a-days, the sound of basketballs dribbling against a hardwood floor and swishing through nylon nets filled the air through the last week of July at Pendleton County Middle/High School.
“This county, this school, we’ve got to be stronger,” Pendleton County High School head basketball coach Jeremy Bodkin implored the campers who ranged from elementary to early high school.
Most counselors were current or recently graduated Pendleton County High School basketball players, both male and female. They guided the younger kids through drills that focused on ball handling, shooting, defense, and creating moves with the basketball.
At the end of the camp, all played in five-on-five full court games.
This was also the first opportunity for most to see the freshly painted upper walls of the gym. Gone is the former “Irish Spring” color, replaced by a fresh white coat of paint that gives a uniform look to the walls.
The end of camp featured a short awards ceremony with four categories of winners: older and younger boys, as well as older and younger girls.
In the younger boys’ category, Tucker Minor won the layup award, Deke Somerville, the hot shot, Chase Rohrbaugh, foul shooting, Hyrum Hartman, one on one, and Vince Helb, camper of the week.
For the younger girls, Skye Dahmer won the layup award, Ava Davis, hot shot and one on one, Bristol Bowers, foul shooting, and camper of the week was Sunny Milstrad.
For the older boys, Ty Armentrout won the ball handling award, Travis Owens, hot shot, Travis Owens, foul shooting, Colton Roberson, one on one. Camper of the week was Sam Eason.
For the older girls, Kinsley Bennett won in ball handling, Vaylee Harper in hot shot and one on one, and Tia Heavner in foul shooting, with camper of the week being Aubree Frye.
Bodkin reserved special praise for Frye, first telling attendees that she had come all the way from California. She twisted her ankle on the second day of camp, rested on the third, then stormed back and had an excellent remainder of the week.
He then shared that Franklin native Roger Riggle from Virginia based DefyGenetics would come and hold a clinic, free for all and mandatory for varsity athletes on Aug. 12. Riggle’s website explained that his team is “highly motivated and educated in the cutting edge, World Class training methods needed to improve your explosive power, muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance.”
One Riggle client who should be well known to area football fans is Quinton Spain, a seven-year NFL offensive lineman who starred at West Virginia University. Spain told WVRivals.com in 2013 that “It’s been good. He just makes me work hard and pushes me to a certain extent. All he cares about is hard work and dedication and he’s been a good dude.”
The coach closed camp with a message of family and values, saying to the parents, “I want to thank you for allowing your kids to come,” and shared that not one camper had created any problems all week.
Bodkin then told the campers, “Give mom, dad, grandma, whoever, a hug, tell them you love them and thank you. That’s the three things you need to do.”