Athletic facilities in the Massapequa School District are busy this summer, as hundreds of children are participating in the popular sports camp program. The camps began the last week of June and run through early August, with offerings in more than a dozen sports.
Camps are led by district coaches with support from current and former Massapequa High School athletes. Many children play their respective sport in a community league and are looking to improve their skills as they get ready to try out for middle school or high school teams. Others are learning a sport for the first time, and the coaches cater instruction to meet the skill level of each participant.
At the field hockey camp at Berner Middle School, varsity coach Melodee Ahrens said that the first few days focused on the rules of the game and teaching the girls the various positions. Camp ended with scrimmage games so the young athletes could put their new skills into practice.
A track and field camp at Massapequa High School included instruction in all of the events that junior varsity and varsity athletes can choose, including javelin, high jump and relay races. Boys track coach Rich Degnan said the student instructors are very skilled and have achieved All-State rankings or higher.
Erin Townsend, who is entering fifth grade at Lockhart Elementary School, runs track with a local league. She said her favorite event to learn at the camp was the long jump because it incorporates both running and jumping.
“I wanted to practice this summer and I want to get better because I plan to do this for a while,” she said. “I want to run track in middle school and high school. The counselors go over everything you would need to know for a track meet.”
Incoming senior Lauren Utz was one of the counselors at the softball camp at Berner Middle School. The varsity athlete passed along her knowledge to the next generation of high school players.
“The coaches have taught me so much,” Lauren said. “I want to teach the children what I’ve learned as a way of giving back to the community.”
Added assistant varsity coach Christina Castellani, “It was nice to see the progression the children had in just five days of camp,” she said. “They learned something new every day.”
Michael LaBella and Phil Soman hosted a wrestling camp at the high school, with support from varsity wrestlers. Children learned the fundamental of the sport along with different wrestling techniques.
“They love to learn and they have a great time,” said junior Frankie Kempton, who has wrestled on the varsity squad for two years. “I love seeing the kids energized and happy.”
Photo: courtesy of: Massapequa School District