IMG_20201123_054208_7971.jpg

Cami Dodson with Sugar-Salem’s 3A state championship trophy.

Maybe one day Cami Dodson will reveal what she feeds her volleyball players at Sugar-Salem. Until then, she’ll keep stacking the accolades.

The latest for Dodson is The Post Register’s All-Area Volleyball Coach of the Year, an honor she earned for guiding the Diggers to their second straight 3A state championship, helping them go undefeated in 3A competition this season.

That is no typo. Sugar-Salem didn’t just go unbeaten in conference play this year. The Diggers also didn’t lose a single set on their way to the state title.

“They never have a down year,” Madison head coach Meranda Maestas said.

Take a look at the last few years and you realize the accuracy of that statement. Since 2015, Sugar-Salem has captured four state championships and two second-place finishes. We’re talking about a program nearly bulletproof, a team that finishes high at state with flawless consistency.

The athletes come and go, of course, which means the common denominator is Dodson.

“They’re athletes through and through,” Hillcrest coach Amanda Wade said. “She definitely runs a different type of practice gym than I do, but she runs it well. She’s established this program, this competitive program, that athletes are just thriving down there.”

Dodson has done well to make sure her players develop into the best versions of themselves. This season alone, she placed five on the all-state list, eight on the Mountain Rivers all-conference first team and six on The Post Register’s all-area teams.

That might help us most in understanding how Dodson has established such a tradition at Sugar-Salem. It’s deeply important to her to care for her players and develop them. That they gush about their head coach in return might say it all.

“She has some good kids. They’re all good,” Thunder Ridge coach Keisha Fisher said. “She’s a good coach. She’s a way good coach. They win state all the time.”

Do they ever. Sugar-Salem is easily District 6’s most consistent volleyball program.

For that, the team can thank Cami Dodson.

“She continually returns a bench of kids,” Wade said. “She can get down to her ninth kid on the bench and you’re not going to notice a hiccup on the court. To have bred that type of program, to me, is impressive. To have a program that has no bobble until you put that 10th kid in, that’s impressive.”

Greg Woods is a sports reporter at the Post Register. Reach him 208-542-6772 and follow him on Twitter at GregWWoods.