Helping making up Buz's staff is a talented and energetic group of coaches, post-collegiate runners, collegiate runners, and recent high school graduates. Head cross country coach at the College of William & Mary, Alex Gibby, a former athlete of Male's at Langley High School, is one of those coaches whose vast amount of running knowledge at such an early stage in his coaching career, provides a great deal of resources for campers to pull from throughout the week. Gibby had a successful first year at the helm after taking over from his mentor, Andy Gerard, as he led the Tribe to a NCAA National berth in cross country as well as helped freshmen Keith Bechtol become one of the top junior 10K runners in the world. His fiancee, Kathy Newberry, will also be working as part as the camp staff. Newberry, who ran at Lake Braddock High School as well as at William & Mary, recently competed in the Olympic Trials for 5000 meters (13th, 16:14.89) and 10,000 meters (14th, 34:05.63).
Quite a few Virginia high school stars turned collegiate stars are counselors at the camp as well with plenty of great accolades and experiences to recall to campers. Charlie Hurt, a member of several Western Albemarle state championship squads as well as being a member of two NCAA Nationals advancing William & Mary squads. Hurt led the Tribe at the 2003 NCAA national meet with 186th place finishing. William & Mary teammates Kate Willever and Shelly Knewstep are also camp counselors.
A graduate of Stuarts Draft high school and a current rising senior at James Madison University, Evan Kays is working as a counselor at the camp. Kays has some respectable personal bests of 1:53.88 in the 800, 3:51.30 in the 1500, 4:09.35 in the mile, 8:29.88 in the 3K, and 15:00.37 in the 5K. JMU teammate Travis Lambert is also part of the camp staff as a 9:45 3K steeplechaser.
The group of junior counselors, recent graduates of high school, is quite impressive as well. David Groff, who is headed to the College of William & Mary after a great senior year at Westfield High School is working the camp alongside Westfield teammate James Scheiner, who will be headed to Virginia Tech in the fall. Groff and Scheiner were key members of the state champion 4x800 relay team that set the indoor state meet record in March. Groff was also an individual state champion at 1000 meters.
Another state champion serving as part of the staff includes West Springfield graduate Steve Tobin, who won the AAA state crown in cross country last fall. Tobin is headed to Tennessee in the fall to run alongside former teammate Jeff Day.
Without a question, Ragged Mountain Running Camp this year has a well knowledgeable and fit staff to give the campers a great week of running fun.
After all the campers checked in and got settled in their rooms, a brief camp meeting was held by Buz to introduce himself and the staff and to set some guidelines for the week as well as discuss the schedule for the day.
Afterwards, campers were assembled into groups for a light afternoon run of roughly 30 minutes. Many soon realized they were not back in the flat areas of home as they treked up the hilly terrain that surrounds the Miller School campus grounds, but all welcomed the challenge. After the run, the campers did 3 to 4 striders across the soccer field and got their stretching done.
After a shower and a little period of free time, the campers enjoyed a nice dinner prepared by the Miller School cafeteria staff.
Following dinner, the campers met in the gym for their guest speaker for the night, 1996 Olympian and U.S. Trials Champion at 10,000 meters, Kate Fonshell. Fonshell gave a stellar speech on recalling the events of her Olympic Trials and Olympic experience as well as go into depth about sports psychology, a field which she is now entering into. Preceding her speech, the campers were able to watch a video of Fonshell's Olympic Trials win back in 1996. Many campers were astounded watching the video as they saw her run a pace that they would have a hard time running at even 5,000 meters. She won the race in a impressive time of 32:37, however she posts a lifetime best of 32:18 for 10,000 meters,
After Fonshell signed autographs for any camper that wanted one, Buz held a closing camp meeting for the day at 10 PM to discuss tomorrow's activities. Following the short meeting, the camp store was open for campers as campers spent much of the night either hanging out in the canteen and canteen porch or making sure they got plenty of rest for tomorrow's busy day, which includes a mountainous run up Sugar Hollow, where a water hole and rope swing greats them at the end of the challenging trek. However, any soreness from the tough run should be relieved in tomorrow night's massage therapy session.