GREENVILLE – Among a record number of campers, Bill Plessinger saw some athletes with potential to be future state champions.
More than 100 boys and girls attended Greenville’s 15th annual youth track and field camp last week, which was 20 more than attended last year and more than double the number of campers from four years ago. And among the campers were the best collection of young track and field talent Plessinger has ever seen.
“That group of sixth grade girls is the most talented group overall of track athletes, girl track athletes, we have ever had, that I have ever seen,” Greenville’s varsity track and field coach said. “There were literally four girls that are going to be sixth graders that would have lettered for me this year in high school track.”
Along with 101 boys and girls ranging from kindergarten through junior high was the youngest camper in the event’s history, Plessinger’s 3-year-old son. They all learned about the various track and field events and concluded the camp with a meet.
“The kids come. They have fun,” Plessinger said. “There aren’t too many negative experiences. We try to make every kid feel like they win something or that they’re worthy of being here and taking our time. I think they genuinely feel that, and the parents feel that.”
With having so many kids at this year’s camp, Plessinger and his staff had to add extra instruction to keep everyone busy. For the first time campers learned how to use starting blocks and the proper technique of passing batons in relay races.
“We had to do a few extra things because of the numbers. We had to increase stations,” Plessinger said. “We really, really did a lot of fundamentals we’d never done in the past.”
To accommodate the large number of campers, Plessinger also received help from assistant coaches Stephanie Lind and Matt Levek plus 14 current or former Green Wave track and field athletes.
“For as big of a camp as it was, it was probably the least amount of work I had to do at the camp,” Plessinger said. “It goes back to good kids, good coaches. They kind of take of it for themselves and made my job a lot easier.”
For many of the high school helpers, the youth camp is an annual tradition as they attended it when they were younger and now they help each year.
“The track kids love it” Plessinger said. “At the end of track season they’re like ‘Can we do track camp? Do you need help with track camp?’ It’s a thing they all like to do. They love being with the kids. You can see it.”
Like with the high school athletes, Plessinger saw a lot of enthusiasm from the youth campers who came from Greenville and other communities including Arcanum and Versailles.
“You see with the kids they really respond well,” he said. “They cheer each other on. I was tickled to death.”
Ten of the campers – Adam Edwards, Riley Emrick, Arianne Garrison, Charlie Jasenski, Noah King, Libby McKinney, Angelika Myers, Harrison Plessinger, McKenzie Pressnall and Clair Rammel – were recognized as the campers of the week for their efforts throughout the week with competitions and sportsmanship.
With the camp growing, Plessinger had to be more organized than ever to accommodate the large group. But he’s confident that he and his helpers will be ready for more campers if the camp continues to grow.
“It was the best camp we’ve had in a long time because my help was awesome,” Plessinger said. “There was a lot of kids. I was really concerned with that many kids.
“I went from 40 four years ago to 100 so we were able to handle that. So I’m sure if we get even bigger we’ll be able to handle it.”