Tue, July 16

New coach starts with defense<br><i>Cowboys' Stacey Gagnon played on national championship team in college</i>

Staff photo by Eric Lusk

Stacey Gagnon was a three-sport star at Camp Verde in the early '90s.

“It was awesome,” she says. “We just played out of our minds. The whole community, when we came back, was at our school, and they were going crazy.”

As Gagnon takes the reins of Camp Verde’s program, she’s hoping to help generate that same kind of spirit for local sports in Cowboy country.

She remembers enjoying widespread community support during her days as a three-sport star at the school in the early 1990s. Parents flocked to games, and she and her classmates made headlines in the local paper every week.

“We’re working a lot on putting pride back into the athletic program at the high school,” Gagnon said. “Come out and support us.”

Gagnon, who was named conference defensive MVP while at Grace, plans to start building her first Camp Verde team around just that subject. The first couple weeks of practice have featured lots of bumping, digging and learning where to be on the court.

“We haven’t even touched spiking yet,” she said Thursday evening. “We’re just working on passing and defense right now. It all starts with the pass.”

The new coach inherits a relatively young and inexperienced team. Seniors Amanda Rise, Megan McDonald and Sam Scheurn all played varsity last year, as did junior Ashley Hollamon. Sophomore Amy Showers spent the last part of the season on the varsity roster after getting called up from JV.

Newcomers to the varsity include juniors Shannon Riley and Sam Mundell, and sophomores Leah Ayres, Cassidy Crossen and Dana Riley.