Bulldog pups show off athletic versatility

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North Zulch ISD hosted a sports camp last week for boys and girls grades three through eight at the high school. The camp ran from Monday through Thursday and focused on basketball, baseball/softball and volleyball.

“It’s best for our kids to learn a lot of different sports since it’s such a small school,” said North Zulch Elementary P.E. Coach David Graves. “There were a variety of sports to learn in this camp and we gave them two hours to focus on each, every day. That way they can see how they feel and if they want to continue playing it or not.”

Graves coached the camp along with Kimberly Branch, Kali Bohannon, Jimmy O’Neil and Kendra Gilbert. Gilbert has been involved with the camp since 2008 and still brings the same attitude along with her to share with the kids.

“All of the coaches have had the same philosophy with this camp for years,” Gilbert said. “Basically we come in and really highlight the fundamentals. The kids still need to have that kind of practice every day. They need to focus on things like layups for basketball and getting better at the little things.”

All of the coaches focused on more than just the fundamentals and the three sports that were offered. They said they know the importance of preaching teamwork and camaraderie among the young campers.

“It’s very important because it teaches them skills that they’ll be able to utilize in all aspects of life,” Branch said. “It’s not just about the sports. We also wanted to spend time on building character in them on top of all the athletic aspects.”

On the final day of the camp, the coaches handed out certificates to award the players for their hard work throughout the week. Most valuable player certificates were given to the players who excelled in a particular category.

Marissa Stewart was given the All-American Bulldog Award for her overall versatility. This award honors the best all-around camper in all categories.

Tanner Jones was awarded the MVP for baseball and Payton Brown for softball. Basketball’s MVPs were Tripp Baker and Cheyenne Brockman. Elliot McCreary took home the prize for volleyball.

Also receiving awards were Garrett Rhodes and Jaycee Estes for Bulldog pride. This award was given to the campers who featured the most hustle and hard work and a dedication to do the right thing throughout the duration of the camp.

“It’s such a joy to coach this camp every year,” said Gilbert as her ninth year with the camp neared end. “I really enjoy doing it.”

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