Graduated Cougars come back to help at Trinity volleyball camp


When Stella Kleffman thinks about how Trinity Lutheran volleyball is a family, she believes it extends beyond your playing career.

That was on display last week during the Cougars’ volleyball camp when the recently graduated Kleffman, Ruthie Bingham and Kamzi Gross were in attendance every day to help lead the activities.

“I think it kind of shows the culture of Trinity,” Kleffman said. “When we got invited back for the camp, it felt good. It feels like we’re gearing up for another season again, so it’s going to be weird not coming back here in the fall. But we were all excited to come back and help the kids.”

Gross remembers attending these camps when she was a kid and learning valuable skills. She enjoyed her opportunity last week of being the one doing the teaching.

“Whenever I went to camp here, I learned how to dump serve,” Gross said. “It’s just great to teach other kids new things, and like if they want to work on something, they’ve looked up to us.”

This trio was a valuable piece of Trinity’s team last fall that advanced to the Class A state finals.

Bingham could feel they were being looked at as role models, and she said coaching is something she wants to keep doing when she has the time.

“I’m really interested in coaching, so I feel like I can see myself doing that in my offseason in college,” Bingham said. “Just learning from Gregg (Greathouse, assistant coach) and his coaching style has really helped. Hearing younger kids and how they look up to us, it’s really cool. I never realized how much they pay attention to everything we do.”

There were two different groups for Trinity at the camp. First through fourth grades were the earlier session each day, and fifth through seventh grades had the later session.

As expected, the younger kids were taught more fundamentals, such as where to put their hands to hit the ball. For the older kids, there was more extended play and advanced drills.

“Younger is a lot more basic skills,” Gross said. “Older kids, you let them play it back and do more.”

The three former Cougars were quite impressed at some of the talent at the camp, as well.

“I think Trinity is going to have a lot of talent coming in from the younger groups,” Kleffman said.

Kleffman’s sister, Annie, was in attendance. Annie also attended the girls basketball camp a couple of weeks ago, and Stella joked it was a “lost hope” that her younger sister will follow in her footsteps.

“She’s going to do basketball,” Stella said.

After the state finals last November, Kleffman, Bingham and Gross all said they wanted to keep playing volleyball in college.

Now just a couple months out from their first college semesters, all three will be making that goal a reality.

Kleffman is committed to Kentucky Wesleyan University and will heading there Aug. 14, Gross is playing at Franklin College and will go there Aug. 15 and Bingham is going to Mount St. Joseph University and will report there Aug. 17.

“I’m excited,” Bingham said.

“I’m excited,” Gross also said. “I’m helping with the kids camp at Franklin in July.”

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