WAXAHACHIE — The Lady Warriors are seven months removed from finishing their district undefeated and winning a 4-1A and TAPPS state volleyball titles and only two from watching seniors Kayten Blackmon, McKayla Burgess, Calli Pierce and Katherine Terminella embark on collegiate futures.
With the loss of that magnitude of experience and talent, Head Coach Becca Prohaska enlisted the help of former Lady Indian star to help guide her team back to the promised land.
Waxahachie Preparatory Academy will hold its four-day, annual "Little Warriors" youth, middle school and varsity girls' camp on July 10 at WPA Gymnasium, located at 1000 Butcher Road in Waxahachie, with Houston Baptist University sand volleyball star Aeriel Horton at the helm.
"I had been doing camps with Scott Vaughan for a few years now and he called me up one day and asked me if I wanted to run the WPA camp. He thought it was a great opportunity for me to teach the girls and give them with I know with my knowledge and passion of the game. I think he might be on to something," Horton said about the decision to head the skills camp of a state championship program adding a slight giggle.
Though she's run weekend youth clinics and helped Vaughan before, it will be the first-ever run camp from by the former Lady Indian libero, outside hitter and school record holder.
"I've been taught by some really good coaches — Scott, Sandy Faussett and Cameron [Sitler] — in the past," Horton continued. "They've shared what they know about the game with me and I feel like I've learned a lot from them and I've been successful because of it. I think the information I can give them will do the same for them."
She's worked with Vaughan, an advance NBA scout for the Golden State Warriors, for the last couple of years and with Sitler, an HBU Huskie beach volleyball assistant coach, since her arrival as a freshman.
Horton, a former pupil of Faussett, the Waxahachie High School head coach, is no stranger to success. The daughter of Darrell and Amanda Horton excelled in the ranks of the Ellis County Juniors circuit under former coach Rob Beason, where she qualified for the Sand Nationals Tournament four consecutive years and Indoor Nationals two years.
Horton also aided the Ellis County Juniors 18 National Black team in claiming a third place finish, picked up all-tournament honors at the 2015 USA Volleyball National Tournament and set the school record for digs in a single match with 43 as a senior. During her final year as a Lady Indian — she spent three years in Waxahachie and her freshman year at Canterbury High School — she averaged 5.9 digs, served 61 aces across 142 sets played and earned District 14-5A Defensive Player of the Year honors and academic all-district recognition.
She set the program mark with 26 points in a match as a junior, finished the season with 3.5 digs and 55 aces and garnered All-District 14-5A First Team honors. As a Lady Indian, she helped Waxahachie finish 34-12 overall and 15-1 in district and reach the regional semifinal as a senior in 2015.
As a freshman at Canterbury, Horton claimed a UIL 2A state title. She said knowing what's required on the road to state gold may help the Lady Warriors complete a successful title defense.
"I know what it takes to get there and I want to help them get back," Horton said. "I know a few of the girls that graduated and even though they're gone, they have influence with the ones that will start the next season in their junior and senior years. Preseason is when girls really get their minds set for the season and figure out what their goals are in the coming months. Using the summer to get ready for the rigors of district play and the playoffs is imperative to being successful once the volleyball is served."
WPA will run the "Little Warriors" camp for first through fifth-grade students, which costs $60 per athlete, between 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. on July 10, 11, 12 and 13.
The $80 middle school camp for sixth, seventh and eighth graders, will be from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and the varsity camp for ninth through 12th-grade athletes will be from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The varsity camp costs $100 to attend.
The registration deadline is July 6 and there will be a slight $5 price increase to register the week of camp with no guarantee of a camp T-Shirt. Both the registration form and the liability release must be completed before the first day of camp. The attire is T-Shirts and athletic shorts. No tank tops or razor back shirts are allowed.
Marcus S. Marion, @MarcusMarionWNI