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UNC Athletes Inspire, Shine at Camps

"It's pretty neat seeing them come back from years before, having them recognize you and want your autograph," Triplett said while taking a break from Spirit Xpress, UNC's cheerleading camp.

Involved athletes like Triplett are far from the exception, which comes to the relief of many varsity coaches.

"They don't realize how valuable they are to us in running the camps and to the girls because here are players that they admire," said Nick Conway, associate head coach of UNC's field hockey team.

Unlike other teams, the field hockey team held both day and overnight camps this summer. Most sports only held overnight individual or team camps.

And for the UNC students themselves, its an opportunity to try coaching.

Stephanie Fuller, a back for the field hockey team, has worked with several camps in the past. "It's great for the local kids because they can come out and work with us and then come out and watch us play," she said.

The men's lacrosse team had about 10 to 15 players helping out in its second camp alone, which drew more than 200 youths. "(The younger athletes) know the big names in lacrosse, so some of them come out and ask about our starting players," said Michelle Smith, trainer for the men's lacrosse team.

The camps also give coaches a chance to recruit with ease, Conway said.

And despite the relatively steep prices associated with overnight and day camps, the University doesn't necessarily profit from the endeavor. The camps are conducted separate from the University, meaning there isn't one oversight charge.

"We're not trying to make money off the programs," said Willie Scroggs, assistant athletic director of operations. "We ask the coaches to pay for the use of facilities and give back whatever isn't used."

Leftover dollars go into a coach's special account to be used during the season.

Michelle Shue, cheerleading coach of West Rowan High School, said the camps are a way for younger athletes to emulate their collegiate role models. "They are where they want to be one day."

The Sports Editor can be reached at sportsdesk@unc.edu.

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