Coach’s Corner: Coach Camb

Amanda Vogt and Aleksandra Graic

 Two of the newest sports programs to Wayne Valley, Girls Golf and Boys Fencing, are coached by Mr. Camb. After being built from the ground up, both programs have been making major strides under his leadership. Taking the reins of Girls Golf and Boys Fencing was no hard decision for Coach Camb, since he has wanted to be a coach since high school: “I worked summer baseball camps and I immediately fell in love with the idea of helping kids play sports and achieve their goals!” Both programs were created based on the interests of student-athletes, who sought to compete in the sports that they love, and Camb feels so lucky to have been chosen to coach. He explains that, “I have been very fortunate to coach my favorite sport, [golf,] and it is something that I pinch myself about every day. I also love being around fencing and the team, they are a great group of young men.”

Despite coaching two completely different sports, Coach Camb looks for the same attributes in his athletes: passion and sportsmanship. Dedicating time and displaying integrity is what brings about the success of not only the individual, but of the entire team. Camb claims, “One of the best parts of my job is watching someone put in the work and [seeing] the smile on their face when they pull it off in a match.” 

Since both programs are relatively small, the athletes on each team are very close with each other. Coaching such tight-knit groups, for Camb, means “being a support system, a motivator and hopefully someone who makes an impact on young lives that will help them deal with life after they leave my programs.” He finds it very important that they all connect so that he can coach them better individually.

Both fencing and golf are sports that require many hours of practice in order to produce optimal results, so patience is key. Still, Coach Camb gets to watch his athletes improve every single day; he feels “blessed to witness the growth of the programs and their athletes since the beginning” and cannot wait to see what is to come! 

Sophomore golfer Devon Edmonds believes that, “Coach Camb is such an effective coach because he cares so much about all of us and puts all of his time and effort into our team.” Even during his free time, Coach Camb is still constantly thinking about his players and how to better them: “I think about the kids all throughout my day. What do we need to do as a team? What might each athlete need individually? I like to read a lot, so I’ll read something and think, ‘Hey, maybe so-and-so would benefit from this!’ and I try to pass that along.” 

Regardless of a program’s success, Coach Camb has made it clear that his top priority is the wellness of his students. While he does his best to prepare them for competitions, he also makes sure to care for each of them, and to teach them much more than just how to play sports. Camb claims, “I want them to enjoy coming to practice every day and learn how to be a good person above all else.”

This year was the Boys Fencing team’s fourth year of competition, and it was one for the books. During the team’s first-ever season, the fencers only won one match.  This year, they won eight, and ended the season with their highest record in the program’s existence! It is amazing how much the program is growing and improving each year. This year’s graduating Boys Fencing seniors were the first to be on the team for four years (as the team was created during their freshman year), and those four years of experience definitely shaped the season. Coach Camb is so proud of the seniors for how much they’ve grown. He predicts that “the next group of seniors will continue to push themselves and the team [will] keep making improvements.”

Junior fencer Ryan Kwon remarks that Coach Camb is very successful in connecting with his team. Kwon states, “He establishes a true connection between players and knows each of his players very well.” According to Kwon, Camb is an “effective but friendly” coach and brings out the best in his students and players. 

Like the Boys Fencing team, under Coach Camb’s leadership, the Girls Golf team saw an impressive season. There were only a few practices before the first matches, so there really was not a lot of time to “tune-up.” Yet the girls prevailed and won some tough ones: the most impressive, beating Mahwah and Paramus in a tri-match with a record-breaking team score of 198. 

Technically, since no season was played in 2020, the 2021 golf season was only the third year of competition; success in spite of the pandemic, Camb says, was achieved because “everybody is all in.” The team only gets to practice Monday through Friday in any given week (courses are solely open to the public on weekends), so practicing during individual time is pivotal. That time, whether it be on those weekends or during the offseason, is where Camb considers “huge leaps” to be taken. Additionally, “[The team has] two great captains that set the tone on a daily basis, and that has a positive impact on everyone in the program.” 

The most important part about coaching or competing in any sport is definitely having fun, and with the Girls Golf team, Coach Camb says that “I really enjoy every day with the crew. They are a lighthearted group who makes coming to work everyday enjoyable. We work hard and laugh hard. That is a great combination.” 

The girls qualified for the NJSIAA State Sectional Tournament for the first time in program history this year. They played at Great Gorge Golf Club for the event as a part of the top twelve teams in the north section. Camb, who helped the girls to achieve their goal, is incredibly proud of the team’s capabilities. He remarks that “Being a part of that tournament and the teams that are there was a really cool experience. I was happy the girls got to see what they can achieve and what they are capable of!” In golf, experience is everything.

Even the girls who were brand new to the sport still felt comfortable in the environment Coach Camb created. First-year golfer Bree Starling declares that “Coach Camb is always enthusiastic, and he keeps a positive attitude which allows all of us to support each other. He motivates us to do the best we can…golf can be very frustrating by yourself, let alone trying to teach someone the sport. And teaching it to some people, including myself, can be just as frustrating—yet he has never shown any sign of that frustration.” She concludes, “He has done such a great job coaching the team, for we all have improved so much.”

On May 12th, the girls won the Passaic County Tournament; captain Amanda Vogt and sophomore Devon Edmonds had top five finishes. This was the first team title won by the program, and with no seniors on the team, the girls look to improve and lower their scores by the time the 2022 season rolls around. 

Setting goals is a huge part of Coach Camb’s approach to both the Girls Golf and Boys Fencing teams. His goals motivated the fencing team to go out there and win tons of matches, and they pushed the golf team to set new and higher standards for themselves. “You have to keep improving,” he reflects, “in order to get the most out of yourself, and you do that by having a goal and chasing it down.”

As for the future of both programs, Coach Camb looks to start recruiting new members for the team in order to help the programs to grow further. He ultimately hopes to “see the younger brothers and sisters of former athletes coming to Wayne Valley and joining the squads so we can build something awesome!”

At the end of the day, each team’s success has been well earned through the hard work of the athletes. Given the youth of the programs, it’s amazing to see what they have already accomplished and anticipate what comes next—all thanks to Coach Camb.