TRURO – The Dal AC gymnasium was on wheels Friday afternoon, as the Volleyball N.S. Mizuno Elite Development Camp brought the province’s best players to the court.
The building was buzzing as various divisions got their chance to duke it out after a week of practices and classroom sessions. In total, 194 athletes went through an intense training camp with hopes of cracking one of the provincial squads.
One of those participants was Truro’s Morganne Peck, who was making her second straight appearance at the camp. Peck was one of several Colchester County players to take part.
“I was pretty nervous the first time I came here,” she said. “I’d never really played up to that level before, so there was a lot to learn coming into it.”
Peck was a member of Cobequid Educational Centre’s team this past season, picking up a Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Division I bronze medal. A standout player with height on her side, Peck was a shoe-in for the camp.
“We’ve got a great group of girls at CEC, so I’ve been fortunate to play with some pretty good players this year. I think that helps a lot coming into this camp.”
Admission to the camp is invitation only, said Volleyball N.S. technical director Shane St-Louis. Sixty per cent of the players are given invitations at season’s end, while the remaining spots are filled from five tryouts held around the province.
“Realistically, there are some players who won’t get the chance to play in front of scouts, whether it’s because of where they live or the team they play with,” he said. “So this camp gives a great opportunity for players to create exposure for themselves.”
Representatives from the provincial body were scattered everywhere on Friday. In total, 32 coaches and even more scouts and volunteers took part in camp. Having all the best players in one town for a week gives the Volleyball N.S. brass a chance to make decisions for the provincial teams. In two weeks, the top men’s and women’s under-18 teams will travel to Gatineau, Que., and Winnipeg, Man., respectively, to take part in the National Team Challenge Cup.
“I think every player here has that in mind,” St-Louis said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to see the players all together and make the best decisions.”
Not surprisingly, Peck’s goal is the same as everybody else’s – to land a spot on one of the provincial rosters. The skills she’s learned at the camp have gone a long way to help her chances.
“I’ve been able to take a lot away,” she said. “There’s a lot of things on and off the court you learn here that you wouldn’t spend as much time on with your regular team.”
The camp got underway on Sunday, and will wrap up Saturday afternoon. Even if she doesn’t crack the provincial squad, Peck will head back to her club team with a wealth of knowledge from playing at the province’s top tier.
“It’s been a great experience,” she said. “The other girls are awesome, and the coaches have been really helpful.”