Frenchtown native and former all-American javelin thrower Doug Lefler has been training local Missoula area athletes for many years and currently works as a personal trainer at Access Fitness. Last summer with the help of some Griz football players, he held a last-second football combine camp at the high school field in Ronan.
"We had Jordan and Brock and some more of the Griz guys up there helping last year and the kids loved it so much we thought we better do it again," said Lefler.
This coming Monday on July 7th, the combine camp will be happening again in Ronan. This time with a more organized schedule and this time Jordan Tripp and Brock Coyle will be helping out as NFL players instead of college athletes.
"When you see a local kid coming out of Big Sky (high school) like Jordan, I would hope that shows these other kids that they can take it there too if they work hard," said Lefler.
"You know I was that kid one day,” explained Tripp about why he enjoys helping with the camp. “Doug helped me out when I was younger. I've had a lot of help from people and just to get exposure like that is how you get opportunities and it's all about getting an opportunity. No matter if you're five years old or 25 years old."
And who better to help teach football combine skills than Jordan Tripp, who just a few months ago was in the national spotlight, competing at the NFL combine in Indianapolis.
"Jordan being invited to the combine, I think bumped the interest level up for the kids around here,” said Lefler. “You know a lot of people paid attention to him running in that and participating in that, so with his interest I thought let's give the kids a shot to do what he did."
"Whether it's football, baseball, basketball, hockey, I don't care what it is,” said Tripp. “All this stuff is body control and just making you a better all-around athlete even if it is organized drills like that."
The event is open for kids from 5th grade through high school and will test speed, agility and strength. The results will be available to share with college coaches, but more importantly it will give young local athletes an early taste of what's expected to become a professional player.
"For a lot of guys, the first time they do these drills is getting ready for Pro Day,” explained Lefler. “You're 22 years old and you've got six weeks to prepare for a drill you've never done. Whereas there's a huge benefit to getting to do it for 10 years before you get to that point."
"Maybe that's going to open up a whole new window for them,” said Tripp. “If you can change somebody's life by telling them something or showing them the way, just by a little tid-bit, why not?"
Registration forms can be found at Access Fitness in Missoula. Athletes can also show up to the Ronan high school field for the camp and register at that time on Monday Morning. Send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.