BOONVILLE — Starmount High School’s volleyball team has a reputation for winning, and kids young and old got a glimpse of the tradition at the volleyball camp held from June 22-24.
Whether the kids were learning the sport for the first time, or looking for that extra edge, they instantly knew what they were getting themselves into.
“It’s pretty intense,” Starmount Head Coach Jon Symons said. “Especially in big matches, and you’ve got to let them get that feeling of intensity. The camp is more situated even for the younger kids just to get touches on the ball and trying to show them how to play the game.”
Symons has a proven track record during his coaching career at Starmount. It’s hard to walk around the gymnasium and not see a banner from a championship team. The camp itself does not serve as tryouts for the team, however, it’s an opportunity to learn and prepare to potentially be part of a team with tradition.
“It’s an opportunity for the players to show me, and the players prior who help me, what you can do,” Symons said. “I was really impressed with a couple of the kids [at the camp], and I’m looking forward to get the season started. I’m kind of chomping at the bit.”
Helping Symons along the way were ex-players Erin Barr, Ashton Gregory and Taylor Vestal. All three players earned championships during their time at Starmount. Both Barr and Gregory were quick to answer why they help with the camp.
“When you’re part of the program… a lot of the girls want to come back and help coach Symons, and honestly I like to get my hands on a volleyball because I still play,” Barr said.
Barr was part of the state championship teams in 2010 and 2013, and is now a setter at Brevard College.
“I think it’s important to see [the kids] grow, and it’s beneficial for me and beneficial for them, too,” Ashton Gregory said.
During her time at Starmount, she had more than 1,000 kills. After some strong play, Gregory is transferring to Wake Forest where she will continue to play volleyball.
As volleyball tryouts rapidly approach, the learning experience from the camp has coach Symons excited for one main reason.
“We’re judged by how far we make it in the state playoffs, and last year we lost in the second round, and I was disappointed, I thought that we could have gone a little further, and I’m hoping this year we can,” Symons said.
“For me, I love the idea of preparing for a state playoff run.”
Ryan DeCosta can be reached at 336-258-4052 or via Twitter @rsdecosta.