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Parents send their kids off to summer camps for many reasons we don’t even need to mention. But when the parents of two 13-year-old friends, Katie Furlong and Brenna Barker, put them on a plane destined for Colorado Springs, their lives were about to change.

OK, maybe not their lives because they are only 13, but certainly their volleyball playing careers, since the pair went off to Colorado Springs to attend the USA Higher Performance Volleyball Camp on July 12 through July 16.

“I had so much fun and I can’t wait to go back next year,” Barker said with a big smile on her face.

By Brian Bergner Jr.

Larson Newspapers

Parents send their kids off to summer camps for many reasons we don’t even need to mention. But when the parents of two 13-year-old friends, Katie Furlong and Brenna Barker, put them on a plane destined for Colorado Springs, their lives were about to change.

OK, maybe not their lives because they are only 13, but certainly their volleyball playing careers, since the pair went off to Colorado Springs to attend the USA Higher Performance Volleyball Camp on July 12 through July 16.

“I had so much fun and I can’t wait to go back next year,” Barker said with a big smile on her face.

The two earned the right to attend the highly touted camp after being picked out of a group of 6,000 players at different age levels from all over the country at a tryout camp held at Phoenix College earlier in the summer.

There were 783 girls within their 13-14 age group, but that didn’t matter to Furlong and Barker. They showed their all and were selected to be on the A2 team.

Thirty players were selected to be on the International squad, 30 on the National squad, 144 on the A1 team and 343 on the A2 team. There was also a training camp team at the bottom.

“This trip was amazing. We met new people, and I cannot wait to get back there next year,” Furlong said.

During camp hours, the average day consisted of volleyball, eating, volleyball, eating and more volleyball.

Players were paired in dormitories on the campus of Colorado College, and each of them was expected to rise, get dressed and be ready for breakfast by 8 a.m.

Volleyball techniques, taught by some of the best college coaches and players in the country, followed directly after breakfast before the group hit lunch.

More volleyball games and skills training took place after lunch and before dinner, and players were in the gymnasium until nine o’clock at night.

Altogether, Furlong, Barker and the rest of the players put in over 30 hours of gym time during the camp.

In fact, they played so much volleyball it was locked into their genetic code before they left.

Furlong and Barker have been friends for a few years now. Of course they met by playing volleyball together on a club team here in Sedona.

The pair could be seen between the lines for Big Park Community School last season and will team together again in a year or so.

Furlong will enroll in Sedona Red Rock High for her freshman season, and Barker will be an eighth grader for the Coyotes again this year.

At the camp, Furlong and Barker were not roommates in the dorm rooms, but the two said they didn’t mind because they were making new friends at a rate at which only cell phone texting can make happen.

“It was great to meet new people and volleyball players from other places,” Barker said.

In their spare time, when the group had a few minutes to not look at hardwood, nets and volleyballs, Furlong and Barker hung out in community rooms with televisions, pool tables and, of course, big stinkin’ bean bags to relax on.

For now the pair will continue to improve their game right here in Sedona and hopefully become better friends in the process. But what they will never forget is the five days they spent together at a volleyball camp in Colorado Springs, learning how to become not only better players, but more well-rounded individuals.


Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, Ext. 131, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 


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