VERSAILLES – Versailles’ Tigers in Training Fun and Run Camp last week had the most participants in its history with 67 boys and girls in the fourth through seventh grades.
“By far the most we’ve ever had,” Versailles cross country coach Mark Pleiman said. “I think we had 55 last year so 67 is our biggest number.”
Of the camp participants, approximately half of them were returners to the camp.
“They keep coming back so that’s a big positive,” Pleiman said, “shows that they like doing it.”
Along with members of Versailles’ high school cross country team, Pleiman led the four-day camp. The boys and girls learned about proper running form, the importance of warming up muscles before a run and plyometrics – a form of exercising.
“Nothing really heavy but just simple things that they can work on a little bit if it’s something they’re interested in doing,” Pleiman said.
For many of the kids the Tigers in Training Fun and Run Camp was their first introduction into the sport of cross country.
“We try to show the kids a little bit about form and how we do things,” Pleiman said. “We try and show them it’s fun. We play a lot of games just like we do during the regular season in cross country. But really just get them an idea of what cross country is running around the parks and up and over hills. It’s one of those sports, I guess, that you don’t have a lot of spectators so they don’t have that exposure to what the sport is all about sometimes.”
Versailles has a lot of sporting opportunities for kids including basketball and volleyball camps the same week as the cross country camp so Pleiman was encouraged to see so many kids interested in his sport.
“The kids over here have a lot of opportunities not only in the running camp but the other athletic camps here as well,” he said. “I think it’s kind of neat the kids will be in three or four different camps. They get to test out what they’re interested in.”
As a conclusion to the camp the boys and girls participated in either the 5K or mile run on Saturday at Poultry Days. The Tigers in Training team was the second largest team in the 5K competition.
“We have such a large group of kids they kind of get that team aspect to it,” Pleiman said. “The 5K has team races and typically we finish one of the top three spots, which is kind of neat for the kids.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.