By Anya Tikka
ELDRED The new sports field at the Eldred Junior/Senior High School was a big incentive to start a summer camp for the pole vaulters on the Eldred track and field team, said Coach William Kroohs at a recent group practice.
“We finally got this track, the old track was 40 years old,” Kroohs explained. “This is the first time we got to use it. We also had a bunch of kids who seemed to be interested.”
Keeping up with the times, Kroohs posted a message on Facebook about the camp, saying “That’s where the kids are all the time, it’s the easiest way to keep in touch.”
Twelve members of the Eldred track team, most of whom are on the varsity team, signed up for the camp. On any given day, about six athletes turned up to camp, said Kroohs.
His volunteer assistant, Don Drewett said, “I’m trying to help wherever I can… I’m trying to make the program a success.”
Drewett has been helping Kroohs for about a year.
Kroohs noted that when the new track was put in, a lot of new opportunities opened up for sports. He said that recent Eldred Central School graduate Diana Schombs had also helped until she got a summer job.
“She was a great help, a great inspiration for the other kids,” Kroohs said.
Many kids were enthusiastic about the camp.
Thirteen-year-old Melissa McMonagle of Pond Eddy, who is one of the youngest members of the school’s varsity team, was attending the camp for a simple reason.
“Because I like pole vaulting and I want to get better,” McMonagle said.
Other determined young athletes thought along similar lines.
Sixteen-year-old Zachary Davies, who now lives in Port Jervis but is moving back to Eldred, said he was in the camp to get ready for the upcoming season and wanted to improve.
Julian DeLeon, 15, of Pond Eddy said he liked to “get together with his friends, have fun and to get better.”
Julian Gottlieb, 16, of Yulan had injured his arm in a horseriding accident and couldn’t take part. But he showed his commitment by helping Coach Kroohs and the team by taking pictures which were reviewed during the camp session in order to determine where there was room for individual improvement.
The camp ran for two weeks from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. A typical day consisted of a warm-up session followed by different individual jump and group exercises.
In the middle of the session, the practice went indoors so the athletes could review the recording of their jumps in order to improve and then they returned to the pit to practice.
Kroohs said that no further pole vaulting summer activities are planned, but the Eldred varsity cross country runners have already started practicing once a week.