Clare’s Dice named top male fall athlete

November 25, 2015

By Ben Murphy
Sports Writer

It’s hard enough to excel in one sport per season. Clare senior Camden Dice flourished in two this fall. His

Camden Dice

Camden Dice

stand-out performances on both the soccer and football fields helped both teams to winning seasons, and now he’s named the Clare County Review’s Boys’ Fall Athlete of the Year.

“Playing two sports was definitely hard on my body at times,” Dice, who also plays basketball and baseball said. “I was really sore for the first few weeks of practice. I would go to football two-a-days and then immediately go to soccer afterwards and run some more. Once season started, I would only attend football practice for roughly 30 minutes if at all, this took awhile for (football head coach Kelly Luplow) to get used to. Though it was a lot of running, I am extremely thankful that Coach Luplow invited me to play.”

On the football field Dice kicked through 90 extra points in his three seasons on varsity, and booted in six field-goals. His longest field-goal came this season, a school record 47-yarder in a loss to Meridian.
“I am definitely going to remember that,” Dice said. “ Pre-game I was good from 55 yards, so the coaches knew that I had the distance that day to kick one that far, especially with all of the adrenaline that would soon come.”

His presence was also felt on kick-offs, as he hit several balls well enough for touch backs. Luplow felt it took a special athlete to do what he’s done the last three falls.

“We have had a lot of players that say they want to come in and dual sport, playing soccer and kicking for football,” he said. “Most of the time it doesn’t work out because it’s so different kicking a football compared to a soccer ball. Camden was the exception.

“He spent a lot of time at it,” Luplow added. “He went to a lot of camps, did things outside of the actual season, it didn’t just become automatic. He became without a doubt the best kicker we have ever had here. On top of all that he is an outstanding soccer player as well.”

Soccer after all is Dice’s primary sport, and when you look at his stat-line you can see why. This season he kicked in 29 goals and had 16 assists, good for 45 points; all three of which are Clare single seaosn records. He career marks in goals (64) and points (88) are school records as well. He also made all-conference teams three times and all district teams three times as well.

“Whatever Camden does, he pushes himself to be as good as he can be,” Clare soccer head coach Doug Helmling said. “He is extremely coachable and works to improve with every practice. He has natural athleticism, coupled with intelligence and drive. He puts team before self and leads by example.”
Dice helped lead the soccer team to 13 wins and a district semi-final appearance. The Pioneer soccer team has gradually improved the last four years.

“I had more individual success this year, opposed to previous years because our team was better,” Dice said. “Every guy on our team worked hard all year to be where we were skill-wise. Without them, I wouldn’t have been nearly as successful. As a freshman, we won only a single game, six as a sophomore, 11 as a junior and this year, we won 13 games. So each year we improved and I ended this year with my best friends.”

While kicking a long field-goal was high season highlight in football, in soccer one particular game stood out, a come from-behind win over Big Rapids Crossroads.

“We needed to win the game in order to keep our hopes alive on making the conference tournament, but we were down 3-1 in the second half,” Dice, who is also a member of the National Honor Society  said. “I scored a goal in the middle of the second half and then another at the end of the second half. We then went into overtime and Ryan Whiteman crossed a ball to me and I headed it in to win it in overtime. It was one of the most exciting moments of my high school career.”

Like Luplow, Helmling felt it took a special athlete to do what he did this fall as well, especially throwing in Dice’s honor roll level grades.

“It isn’t easy to juggle school and athletics,” Helmling said. “One sport is tough enough for most kids and he played two sports and maintained excellent marks at school. Then, to have the success he has had on both the pitch and the gridiron speaks again to his drive to be his best.”

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