VU Campers on How I Spent my Summer Vacation

The dog days of summer are here and while the break has barely begun for some students, it's basically over for the Commodores' upper-class players. Vanderbilt is hosting its annual series of ball camps, meaning the return of student athletes to work the drills, teach basics, play one-on-little ones and order pizza for famished campers.

Vandy grads Dee Davis, Jennifer Risper, Liz Sherwood and Amy Malo joined the mix of returning players to this week's Day Camp, where hoop girls aged kindergarten through 10th Grade learn to hustle like ‘Dores. This weekend, the freshman will arrive to attend the Elite Camp and depart again before returning to summer school in July. Seniors Ashlee Bridge, Lauren Lueders and Jessica Mooney were absent from Day Camp but hard at work on their internships (read details in a future VandyMania article).

Amy will return as a scholar this fall to finish up a Masters in Human Organizational Development at Peabody. Meanwhile, she's working a local part time job and enjoying her fourth basketball camp. "I'm a vet now! It's fun to be back and see all my teammates."

It's no surprise that Florida native Jordan Coleman enjoyed the water on a return home. "We're landlocked here so I made it a point to go to the beach a lot. I worked out, hung out with all my friends and just enjoyed the Florida weather and atmosphere. That's about it." Savoring the low key home visit, the sophomore said she's happy the freshman year is history. "I don't really have that freshman naïve excuse thing going on anymore."

Referencing the 35 middle school, JV and varsity teams that turned out for Team Camp the previous week, senior Meredith Marsh said competition was excellent for the large group of athletes from five states. "We had a lot of fun. We've got little kids this week and I'm really enjoying working with them."

Meredith also showed off her coaching skills back home in Louisville, Ky., where she teamed up a third year with Christian Academy Head Coach Don Rice to organize a basketball camp at her alma mater. "We worked on fundamentals like basic dribbling, passing and shooting for 3 days. "We had about 18 to 20 girls from high school. We put them through drills we use here, and they really loved that."

Junior Jence Rhoads had a European vacation – the best sort of holiday for a ball player. "We played seven games and won all of them by a lot." The point guard said trips to Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic were at the invitation of USA Athletes International, a non-profit that uses sports to build international understanding and broaden cultural awareness. Jence recalls "the competition was really lacking, but it was still a great experience."

Tagging along as a toddler when her dad coached the Slippery Rock University men's team in France, Jence said this second trip was much more memorable. "He was over there for just a few games with the team." Clarifying the team was basketball, she frankly admits, "he doesn't know a thing about soccer."

Classmate Hannah Tuomi, walking without crutches since the end of May, is looking forward to getting back on the court. Doctors are still in the picture to continue assessing CT scans for clearance on running, but weight training and workouts have the green light. Hanging out with family in Thornton, Colo., Hannah put her feet up to recover.

"Since I was in quite a lot of pain, I was pretty much bed ridden in May. I had a lot of time to read, so I read the whole Twilight series that a friend recommended. I also read a lot of philosophy books, including ‘Life of Pi' and (author) Malcolm Gladwell and Aesop's Fables for classic literature."

Birmingham, Ala., native Rebecca Silinski is also on the mend in her struggle with Lyme disease and has stepped up the workouts since May to return to former conditioning levels.

"I started lifting and running some. It feels good to get back into it definitely, but there's still a lot of work yet to get back to where I was. I have another appointment and hopefully I'll get full clearance. By the time I get back in the fall I'll be in better shape. I'm really looking forward to the opportunity just to play. Now as a junior with another semester to be on the sidelines and learn everything from a different perspective, I'll take that out on the court. I'll give it everything I've got so I'm looking forward to it." Top Stories