AUBURN — For the William Smith College coaches, it's all about growing the game and giving back.
Herons head coach Sally Scatton and assistant Sophie Riskie took the field at Holland Stadium Thursday to coach 60 field hockey players with differing skill sets for the Finger Lakers Field Hockey Summer Clinic, which continues Friday morning.
The camp, which is organized for girls grades 7-12 by Champions For Life, is a continuation of various camps Weedsport has hosted over the last several years.
"We've had players from this area, like Sophie being a Port Byron alum and Biz (Chirco) from Weedsport, so it's a way for us to give back to the area and we love to do that," Scatton said.
Scatton has led William Smith to three Division III national championships since 1988, but on Thursday taught skills to girls from each of Cayuga County's field hockey schools, as well as players from Homer, Baldwinsville and Liverpool.
Scatton was helped by Riskie, a Port Byron graduate who has been Scatton's assistant for 11 years after graduating from William Smith in 2007.
"I'm excited to give back to the community that gave me so much as a young player," Riskie said. "It's also really nice to be playing on turf, when I grew up playing on grass. ... It's great to have this beautiful facility to do this on. It's a lot of fun to work with girls of all abilities and be able to see them develop even over the three hours we were here today."
The camp started with the coaches sizing up the players on their ability, and then splitting them up into groups that would focus on fundamentals or more advanced drills.
Scatton and Riskie were helped by Mary McCracken, a former Syracuse and Cornell coach who is now an official. She worked with the goalies to begin the camp and then helped referee some of the drills near the tail end Thursday.
"That helped to have an extra set of hands, knowledge and expertise that she brings," Scatton said. "She worked with the goalkeepers for the first 45 or 50 minutes."
Scatton said her crew hopes to carry the momentum from the first day into the second to conclude the clinic.
"Tomorrow we're hoping to build off what we taught today and maybe do more intricate game play tomorrow to see if they can transfer those skills they learned from drills into the game," Scatton said.
Weedsport hosted clinics over the last couple years, but having a centrally located turf facility made Holland Stadium an ideal spot this summer.
"We've been trying to build it up over the years, and now that Auburn has a turf facility and they're willing to host it through Champions For Life ... it's a great opportunity," Warriors coach Theresa Leonardi said. "At Weedsport, if you have too many kids it'll tear up your field. Here we're not going to damage Auburn's field, and Auburn is centrally located. It makes it easier for more girls to come."
Overall, Scatton and Riskie were happy with the participation numbers for the clinic.
"We were really pleased. It's a great turnout for this time of year," Scatton said. "Kids are on summer vacation or traveling with their families, and some have done a lot of field hockey over the summer. It's good to see them show up. We're very pleased with the turnout."