Student athletes attend sports camps for offseason training


Sarah Haggitt

To celebrate scoring a point during a tight match, Gigi Ford (12) cheers on her volleyball team who took the fourth set, winning the overall game.

A successful play. A powerful spike. Sweet, sweet victory. These are the moments that student-athletes Gigi Ford (12) and Travis Lewis (11) spent a large part of their summer training for at colleges across the nation.

Ford traveled to Union College, Quincy College and Henderson State University as an individual and to Austin Peay State University with her team for multiple volleyball camps. Over the course of seven years, Ford has gone to numerous camps to train with fellow outside hitters. An average day at camp consisted of up to nine hours of intense training.

“The hardest part was definitely waking up sore on the second and third days,” Ford said.

Although the workouts were physically draining, the sport and her fellow players kept her motivated.

“I loved meeting new people from all over the country and making friendships through the love of the game,” Ford said.

Lewis trained as a linebacker at football camps held at University of Arkansas, Texas A&M University and University of Tulsa along with three of his teammates and his coaches. For the past eight years, Lewis has trained with the goal of playing football in college.

The cone and agility work, 40-yard sprints, vertical jumps and other football drills were intense and physically tiring, but the strong sense of competition drove Lewis to continue pushing his limits.

“There’s a lot of competitive athletes out there, and so it’s just fun to compete against people you don’t know,” Lewis said.

Overall, Ford and Lewis feel they grew as athletes during their camps as they learned new techniques and polished their game for the upcoming season.