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Carroll field hockey players getting ready

ELDERSBURG

Kassie Kavoukas worked up a sweat during the first 30 minutes of Tuesday's field hockey skills and conditioning camp at Century High School, and the senior-to-be didn't mind one bit.

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Not with high school tryouts a week away, and Kavoukas looking to regain her varsity form from a year ago.

"It really gets us ready for the heat, and it gets the stick back in our hands," Kavoukas said. "So when tryouts do come, we're not messing up and we've got our skills back."

Longtime county coach Gayle Taylor started the camp 13 years ago to give high school players, from incoming freshmen to seniors, a chance to prepare for the official first day of fall sports practice. This year, it's Aug. 13, which is why Taylor's camp takes place the week before.

The South Carroll coach said more than 80 players are attending her camp this year, with representation from every Carroll school, except Francis Scott Key, as well as Centennial from Howard County and Franklin from Baltimore County. And the week-long camp brings back former attendees, such as Century graduates Abby and Allison Remenapp, FSK alum Ali Dudley, and North Carroll grad Jen Miller.

Taylor said she's getting coaching help this week from Terry Duryea, who moved from Century to Manchester Valley in the offseason, and new Notre Dame of Maryland University coach Kara Zimmerman, who helps Taylor with the Carroll-based Majestx club team.

"The whole reason why I started is just because seeing the years prior and the girls not coming in in shape," Taylor said. "You have a certain amount of time where you do tryouts, then you have to do cuts. Then you're right into the fire, like with scrimmages, play days, all of that. When you have tryouts, the first day is good because they don't feel anything. ... But then by the second day, they're not worth anything because they're sore. Every muscle in their body is sore. They can't move, they can't bend, they can't do anything.

"Then you're, like, a week away from game play."

All the more reason for Carroll's potential varsity players to attend Taylor's camp, she said.

Miller and Dudley, now teammates at Washington College, took charge of the conditioning portion at the start of camp Tuesday. After a group run to start things off, Miller, the Times Player of the Year in 2012, had the campers in pairs doing sit-ups and calisthenics to help strengthen their legs and core muscles.

Taylor said Miller devised her own workout routine to put the campers through, but it was one she wouldn't ask of them that she couldn't survive herself.

"I remember doing this camp every year when I was coming into high school, and then in high school," Miller said. "Just how much it helped get me ready for high school tryouts. And even now, knowing how much in high school I could have been more ready to go into college with the amount of running that we do."

The camp usually attracts a wide range of talent, from those leaving middle school, looking to make an immediate impact at the next level, to all-county players in search of another standout season. Taylor said NC senior-to-be Jensyn Koontz, the reigning Times Player of the Year, was set to attend for the rest of the week.

Emily Dudley, an incoming junior at Westminster, wasn't going to miss her chance to get a head start on high school tryouts.

"It definitely gets your confidence up," she said. "Because then you're used to running what we do at tryouts. Because we do all the running here, basically."

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Taylor smiled as she looked at two long lines of girls passing to each other on Century's practice field Tuesday evening. She shouted some instructions every few minutes, but for the most part the campers knew what to do.

Whatever it takes to be have their field hockey in a week's time.

"Running and doing workouts on your own really helps," Kavoukas said, "but there's nothing you can really do to prepare for this."

pat.stoetzer@carrollcountytimes.com

410-857-7894

twitter.com/carrollvarsity

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