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Summer keeps PT's Humphrey on the go

By James D. Horne jhorne@paducahsun.com

Like many high schoolers, Paducah Tilghman's Karlee Humphrey will have a busy summer filled with athletics and academics.

It's just that the rising senior started hers by giving back to others and will end it by attending a conference that will bless her for her efforts in the classroom and on the playing field.

On June 2 and 3, and for the second year in a row, Humphrey hosted her own, self-organized Youth Lady Tornado Basketball Camp for girls in elementary school through middle school.

Humphrey - with the help of teammates, this year Whitney Shaw, Mariah Donelson, Lily Shapiro and Joya and Jalisa Smith, and under administrative supervision from Lady Tornado coach Roderick Thomas - runs a two-day, two-hour camp with an emphasis on teaching basketball and leadership skills.

"It's basically just a free, youth basketball camp for girls from elementary to middle school," said Humphrey, who was named to the Paducah Sun All-Purchase basketball team and to the First Region All-Tournament basketball and softball teams. "We had about 30 girls last year and maybe 20 this year. We just try to teach them the proper techniques of playing basketball, how to properly shoot, dribble, the important things. We play games with them and we end with teaching them about leadership."

The past two weeks have seen Humphrey hone her softball skills playing for the Cincy Doom 18 Gold traveling softball team. Humphrey played with the team in a tournament from June 5-8 in Dayton, Ohio, took a break to visit her sister in Washington, D.C., and finished the summer softball season with a tournament in Pennsylvania that started Thursday and ended Sunday.

She said the competition is ramped up more than during the high school season, but it's a fun environment to be in.

"There's more pressure in travel ball because all of your teammates, or most, have all already committed, they are the best on their team and you're playing at a high level and competing for a spot on the field against tough competition," Humphrey said.

"To me, playing it's about having fun. I just want to play. I'm not trying to take anyone's spot. I just want to improve. So I just try to have fun and don't get bothered by the pressure. I'm used to it now and just like to play."

But only the team portion of softball ended Sunday for Humphrey, because today she'll participate in a one-day camp put on by the University of Kentucky softball team.

She will then head to Morehead to start what will be the capstone of her summer at the five-week Governor's Scholars Program that will be held at Morehead State.

The Governor's Scholars Program is a summer residential program for outstanding high school students in Kentucky who are rising seniors. The program originated in 1983 as a result of Kentucky leaders' concern that the state's "best and brightest" were leaving the commonwealth to pursue educational and career opportunities elsewhere without fully understanding the potential of their talents at home.

"I think it's a great opportunity for me to reach out and meet other students and students who play sports as well," Humphrey said. "While there, they will have plenty of facilities to practice and work out and also to learn. So I'm really excited to go, and I'm privileged to be able to go. Everyone that goes talks extremely well about it, and I can't wait to go."

The best part of graduating from the Governor's Scholars Program is Humphrey will be eligible for partial or full-tuition scholarships at most universities and colleges in the state, as long as she meets program admission requirements.

"It just gave me a more hands-on ability to go to where I want to play in college, it puts me more in control," Humphrey said. "With the free tuition I could walk onto a big team instead of settling for a full ride to a smaller school. It just gives me a broader range of choices."

Call James D. Horne, a Sun sports writer, at 270-575-8661 or follow on Twitter @psunsports.

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