Three summer camps were going on simultaneously Tuesday afternoon at McDaniel College, smack dab during the hottest portion of the day.
Air quality was unhealthy, according to weather apps on smartphones. Temperatures hovered around 90 degrees, and the “real feel” approached 100-plus. Some cloud cover kept the sun from beating down on those participating in the college’s baseball, softball, and girls lacrosse camps, but there was no avoiding the conditions.
Still, McDaniel was ready to beat the heat.
Stacie Maring, a former softball standout at South Carroll high School and McDaniel, helped run the Green Terror Softball Camp this week. The camp started Sunday afternoon and wrapped up Tuesday — Maring and Phil Smith, the Terror’s softball coach and camp director, said this year’s camp schedule was altered in part to try and avoid the conditions that are usually associated with mid-July in the northeast.
“We’ve got to be mindful of it,” Maring said while most of the 40 campers played catch on McDaniel’s softball field. “As much as these girls want to get back there, we’ll occasionally make them stay in the dugout for 10 minutes. We make sure they’re drinking water. We try to have some fun with some different water games. Before we went to lunch we did a water balloon toss, and then we hit some water balloons. That keeps the girls cool.”
The county is doing its part to deal with the this week’s heat. The Carroll County Department of Citizen Services and the Carroll County Public Library System are opening cooling centers July 17-21 around the county, according to a news release.
McDaniel had classrooms available for its camps should temperatures be too high for the athletes to stay outdoors.
Green Terror women’s lacrosse coach Kristin Ramey had most of her Nike Girls Lacrosse camp participants doing drills on the turf field at Kenneth R. Gill Stadium, but said the college’s pool was being used as a way to get the younger girls out of the heat. Zach Rhoten, a graduate assistant who works with McDaniel’s athletic training staff, was assigned to monitor the lacrosse campers this week.
Rhoten said preventative measures go a long way toward staying cool and avoiding any health issues.
“A big thing is just hydration,” Rhoten said. “Making sure the coolers out there are always full, making sure they’re drinking at meals and eating breakfast in the morning.”
Ramey knows playing on the turf field makes it even hotter than normal, so she tries to mix things up as much as possible with different drills and exercises during camp, which is slated to end Wednesday.
“The girls really perked up when we took their sticks away and did agility drills,” said Ramey, who was cutting practices times by 5 minutes each to give more time for shade and water. “We’re going to do what we have planned, it’s just going to be a little bit shorter.”
Tripp Staley and some his McDaniel baseball players ran the Nike Baseball Camp, which started Monday and concludes Thursday. Staley, an assistant coach for the Terror’s baseball team, said the game plan changes when safety comes into play. And making sure campers keep their energy levels up is a point of emphasis, Staley said.