By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– As the twilight of their prep Volleyball careers approach, the Cascade duo of Meah Carley and Lucertia Benolken were two of the ten High School Volleyball players who helped out aiding the Middle School Camp Thursday morning at Cascade High School. Leaving their mark for the younger generations that will be coming up the next three years.
“Just giving them the time the opportunity to learn is a great feeling, especially my senior year and seeing them grow on the court is really fun,” Carley said. “It’s a great feeling. Just seeing them have fun out there, learning the game, it’s really fun. Just empowering each other is the biggest thing, especially on our team, lifting each other up when we make a mistake. It’s really fun to see them happy and not inside playing video games and we’re getting them to learn and make mistakes on the court, how to empower each other and stuff like that.”
“It’s a good mental break to have,” Carley continues with a laugh. “It was good, but I’m ready to get back to playing.”
The camp comes on the heels of the Cougars winning the 15-team Summer League Title in July. With five returners coming back from their 4A State Championship Title win, the new look Cascade team built some momentum going into try-outs on August 15.
“For having so many new people and losing so many people, it really hasn’t been as bad as I thought or as I imagined. All the girls are super sweet, they’re super skilled from what I’ve seen so far and they all bond with us really well, so I’m saying it’s going pretty well so far,” Benolken said. “I think I’m more mentally prepared to take on that leadership role and lead the younger kids, our team is going to be somewhat young. We have a bunch of returners, but we also are a young team. Just kind of getting there with Summer League and being here as much as I can with them are the little things that are going to bring that chemistry back together like we did last year.”
But with the past few days, a sigh of relief. A mental break as they prepare for the season ahead and have some fun in the process. Carely was there for two of the three days, Benolken there for all three days as they were part of the coaching staff helping the sixth-through-eighth graders with the game they grew up loving.the game.
“I remember back when I was in Middle School, I looked up to the older kids. I wanted to be like them and I thought I never would get there and here I am, getting to teach them. You tell them to do something and they’ll do it, it’s a real good feeling and I’m really glad that I would find myself enjoying coaching rather than I do playing but I do find it almost more fun,” smiles Benolken.
Benolken, Carley and a few of their teammates hung out for a minute after the camp ended at noon Thursday, getting some post-Camp reps in while the nets were up. Preparing for their own season to start on August 25 with a jamboree at Estacada and their first game of the year August 30 against St. Helens at Cascade High School.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald