From the freshmen to be to the seniors to be, kickers from all parts of the country hit the inside of Cook Pavilion to test themselves and learn some new tricks of the trade.
In a one-day that even that was part classroom-part competition, kids of all ages, sizes and demeanors started kicking and for the better part of two hours, didn't stop. Even after the camp was over and
That meant for some tired legs, even for one of the biggest legs in the competition: senior-to-be, Cody Bausema. Throughout much of the day, Bausema exhibited a leg of monstrous proportions, kicking field goals from around 50 yards and in practice, punting just as far. At the end of the competition, however, as the kicking wore on, the larger-than-life specialist (Cody is approx. 6 foot, 3 inches tall and around 215 pounds) feeling it in the end, taking second in the field goal portion of the competition. "I just got tired at the end there," Cody said following the conclusion of the camp. "I had the distance, but the aim wasn't very good."
The older kids had their time, but the underclassmen weren't to be outdone, especially one that came to this particular camp just as a learning tool, his focus being on the first session of Nebraska's regular summer camps; those starting today.
Listed on the Parkway West roster in Balwin, Missouri as a middle linebacker, freshman-to-be Hans Steinert took top honors in the punting competition, averaging right around 30 yards per attempt. Following the even, his father just smiled, shrugging his shoulders at the performance of his son in an event that was basically a stop-over until the "real" camp tomorrow, saying ‘what are you doing to do?'.
Just a grade higher, but
certainly no less impressive was
That's the role of the athlete in a small school, the best athletes playing multiple positions, something that junior-to-be Michael Kuss will probably become accustomed to at Holdredge high school. On the day, he was the reigning punting champ for the upperclassmen, one of his punts traveling 52 yards.
There was one particular competitor there that won't have the problem of being demanded to play multiple positions, but it had nothing to do with his athleticism. Rather, it had to do with the school he attends.
From deep in the heart of
Ortega didn't falter in
As you can imagine, his prolific ability has not gone unnoticed, Ortega getting the invite to this camp, but also getting letters of interest from other division 1-A programs. That's all well and good, but after the competition, his father noted that if Kevin had his way, he knows where he would be kicking.
"He wants to come here," Mr.
Ortega said of Kevin wanting to kick for
With two years yet to play, you can bet that once his senior season arrives, Kevin will have attention aplenty. And if he should happen to add a couple of inches, aplenty will turn into obscene. Even if he doesn't, however, the kid is already pretty darn good.
As I am want to do, I had to save the best for last; the cream of the crop, the uber-specialist of the day. When it was all said and done, there was no climactic finish as just his presence alone was enough to douse the competition into non-existence.
Ok, they actually didn't exist, John Henry Pace the lone long-snapper for the kicking camp, but as anyone will tell you, if you are a good long-snapper, you've got a career in the game. There are players
John Henry Pace
Perhaps Pace will follow suit one
day, but he was satisfied in knowing that he was the top dog this year. Before
you don't give him his due credit, Pace attended last year's kicking camp at
I guess he scared the competition away.
This experience wasn't about competition, though many thrived on going head-to-head with kids from within this state or from a couple of thousand miles away. It was a camp and like any camp, it was a chance for those inexperienced kids to learn and for those more experienced to hone what they already knew. And in some cases, possibly RE-learn how to kick the right way.
Perhaps the next Josh Brown, Kris Brown or Jordan Congdon is amongst this group. Jordan Congdon actually was, coming by almost as you might expect. Was there another like him, potentially making the Parade All-American list along with being a U.S. Army All-American?
Only time will tell, but a camp like this isn't about seeing who's best, it's about making all those there better than they were when they came in.