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Nike Smoky Mountain Running Camp

For Ada Benson the friends and support system she has made up at Nike’s running camp continue to fuel her passion here at HPA

Ada Benson traveled to the foothills of the smoky mountains in North Carolina, to remind herself why she loves to run. Ada started running cross country three years ago, and quickly fell in love the sport. “The reason I ended up feeling so connected to running was because of the sense of community it brought”. For the past two summers, she has participated in a Nike running camp, which has allowed her to learn more about the art and science and running, and most importantly, allow her connect with runners from around the US, and make the friendships that attracted Ada to cross country in the first place. “Over the years since I’ve been running cross country so long I’m kind of starting to get burnt out going to this camp helped remind me why I started running in the first place”.

During camp, the group typically ran two runs a day. A trail run in the morning through the forest of smoky mountains, and then a track run in the afternoon. Besides running the camp also offered workshops teaching the runners about running, and how different things can affect your body while you are running. But the camp wasn't all work. Ada says that there was also some down time, where she could play volleyball with her friends, or walk around and meet new people. On the last day, everyone ran a "graduation run" up a mountain called Buzzer bait, which marked the end of the program.

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For Ada, her love of running has allowed her to connect with the people in this camp, all members of the larger running community. “There’s like 300 people in this camp, and you start out not knowing anyone but you can walk up to anyone and have a conversation with them and end up being best friends because you have something in common with them”. Ada explains that her first year participating in the camp, she started with only one person she knew, a friend from Kentucky, but that circle of friends quickly grew, and continued to grow last year as well

"During the cross country season if I had a setback or was feeling really discouraged I would think about my time at the camp or the people I met there, and it made me more motivated to run fast because I wanted to make them proud"

Ada Benson traveled to the foothills of the smoky mountains in North Carolina, to remind herself why she loves to run. Ada started running cross country three years ago, and quickly fell in love the sport. “The reason I ended up feeling so connected to running was because of the sense of community it brought”. For the past two summers, she has participated in a Nike running camp, which has allowed her to learn more about the art and science and running, and most importantly, allow her connect with runners from around the US, and make the friendships that attracted Ada to cross country in the first place. “Over the years since I’ve been running cross country so long I’m kind of starting to get burnt out going to this camp helped remind me why I started running in the first place”.
During camp, the group typically ran two runs a day. A trail run in the morning through the forest of smoky mountains, and then a track run in the afternoon. Besides running the camp also offered workshops teaching the runners about running, and how different things can affect your body while you are running. But the camp wasn't all work. Ada says that there was also some down time, where she could play volleyball with her friends, or walk around and meet new people. On the last day, everyone ran a "graduation run" up a mountain called Buzzer bait, which marked the end of the program.

For Ada, her love of running has allowed her to connect with the people in this camp, all members of the larger running community. “There’s like 300 people in this camp, and you start out not knowing anyone but you can walk up to anyone and have a conversation with them and end up being best friends because you have something in common with them”. Ada explains that her first year participating in the camp, she started with only one person she knew, a friend from Kentucky, but that circle of friends quickly grew, and continued to grow last year as well.

This community stretched beyond just her fellow participants in the camp, but also included the coaches and mentors that she met. You wouldn’t think I would feel connected to this 50 year old man, who was coaching a bunch of girls but because of cross country, I felt a sense of community with them as well. Feeling so connected to all of these people on such a personal level makes me look up to them and respect them even more”. Back at HPA, Ada has taken lessons she learned at camp, which has allowed her to persevere this past cross-country season. “If I had a setback or was feeling really discouraged I would think about my time at the camp or the people I met there, and it made me more motivated to run fast because I wanted to make them proud”. Ada was also able to take a lot of the information that they learned in their workshops, and use that this year as she is running cross country at HPA.

As Ada begins to look towards college, she isn't sure that she is going to run cross-country competitively. She hopes to continue to run, be she wants to focus more about her own personal goals and achievements opposed to trying to run down her competitors. “I didn’t join the cross country team thinking man I can’t wait for the races, to show everyone how good I am, I just looked forward to the practices and running with my friends” In college, Ada hopes “to be able to run for myself again, and connect back to why I started running in the first place”.

Additional Information

Cost: $750
Duration: 1-3 weeks
Location: Asheville, North Carolina

Highlights: Daily cross country runs through foothills of Smoky Mountains, informative running workshops, taught by excellent high school and college coaches
Website: http://www.ussportscamps.com/running/nike/nike-smoky-mountain-running-camp/

UCLA Water Polo Camp

Five HPA water polo players traveled to UCLA to hone their skills.

After remaining undefeated for the entire 2015-2016 season, the HPA water polo team suffered a devastating loss against Kamehameha in the BIIF tournament. Over the summer, five members of the HPA water polo team traveled to UCLA, to participate in a five-day water polo camp. Sienna Byrne, Rachel Thompson, Sarah Hauser, Nora Healy, and Leina’ala Taylor (Ala) hope that they can take some of the skills that they learned at this camp, bring it back to our HPA water polo team.

Although the camp was short, it was intense. Sienna and Rachel explain that they had three two-hour practices every day, and the practices were intense. Rachel says that the practices consisted of, “lots of dynamic work” and with very few breaks. For the full six hours that they were in the pool, they were running drills. “We didn’t get to rest on the wall at all”. Majority of the practice was focused around shooting drills they don’t focus on a lot in practices at HPA. “Its important for us to refine our skills for next year. Like shooting for example, they taught us so much new things that we didn’t know, and we hadn’t worked on, and we practiced them so much it is going to help us”. Many of the players who signed up for the camp were also very good, which further pushed them to become better. "The players that signed up for the camp were really good. Some of the players were weaker than us or younger than us, and then some of them were a lot better than us, or older than us. It was really mixed". Sienna says that this mixed quality of the people in the camp allowed them to play players who were better, and had more experience then them. "It really encourages you to be better."

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Sienna and Rachel especially enjoyed traveling to to the camp as a team. Sienna runs cross country, and both Rachel and Sienna swim but the team aspect is the thing about water polo that they both enjoys the most. "With waterpolo there is something always happening, and it brings people together, because it is more of a team effort". By having multiple members from the HPA team participating in this camp, Sienna and Rachel think that it will just make the team even stronger in the years to come. Sienna, Rachel and Sarah, are all currently juniors, and Nora and Ala are sophomores, so the HPA water polo team should continue to be strong in the coming years.

"Its important for us to refine our skills for next year. Like shooting for example, they taught us so much new things that we didn’t know, and we hadn’t worked on, and we practiced them so much it is going to help us"

Outside of the pool the girls were able to explore the UCLA campus. Players on the UCLA team coached the camp “they were like our mentors, even when we weren’t in the pool. They took us around UCLA campus which was really cool”. Rachel’s favorite part was getting to see the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame. The group also got to see classrooms and the student athlete area, which is a part of campus only accessible for student athletes.

Both the intense practices, and the tour of the school offered Rachel and Sienna a glimpse into what playing water polo in college could look like. Both Rachel and Sienna agreed that as of right now, they aren’t thinking about playing varsity water polo in collge. “I was kind of thinking about playing in college” Rachel says, “until we went to the camp, and I realized how intense it was. They practice and travel and practice so much, it was just too intense. I would want to play club, but not varsity”. The camp also taught player about the recruiting process, which is similarly intense. “If you want colleges to come and look at you, you have to have all accounts and submit pictures and videos of you playing water polo”

Sienna and Rachel both feel that there water polo skills have improved a lot since returning from the camp. They both look forward to water polo season, and hope that the skills that they gained can help them clinch the BIIF title.

Additional Information


Cost: $1000
Duration: 5 days
Location: UCLA Campus
Highlights:

Improve your fundamental skills in waterloo, practice offensive shooting, play with athletes from around the country and with varying levels of experience.
Website: http://www.uclabruins.com/news/2013/4/17/208267998.aspx

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