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Locals shine at VInnedge camp

Arroyo Grande’s Cole Ramey prepares to punt the ball during the final day of the Billy Vinnedge Kicking Academy camp.

Joe Bailey/Staff

A group of the premier prep kickers on the Central Coast gathered in Nipomo for the final day of summer camp.

But this wasn’t your typical summer camp.

The session was part of Billy Vinnedge’s Kicking Academy and there was certainly some impressive skill sets on display.

St. Joseph rising senior Jon Chartier had some impressive kicks, with the second-best field goal of the day, a 40-yard strike. Nipomo’s Juan Equiluis was one of the top underclassmen at the camp, also hitting a 40-yarder.

However, the most impressive kicks continually came from one leg. That would be Cole Ramey’s. The junior from Arroyo Grande High School, who was named to Cal-Hi Sports’ All-State Sophomore Team after last season, sent some booming kicks throughout the day.

He ended the punting competition with a shot that went 50 yards in the air with a hang-time of 5.05 seconds.

“That’s a professional kick,” Vinnedge said of the punt. 

Stephen Dalton, who just graduated from Cabrillo High School before the summer, helped Vinnedge with running the camp and also participated in many of the drills.

Young kickers from all over, including Atascadero, Templeton, Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo and Nipomo, competed in a number of competitions where Vinnedge, an Arroyo Grande grad who had a brief stint in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers, clocked hang-times and marked distances of kickoffs, punts and field goals. 

“It’s fun, these guys love getting out here with each other and they enjoy competing against each other,” Vinnedge said. “It’s fun before the games they get to talk and have a little bit of fun because they know each other. Like I told the guys, there’s no greater feeling than kicking in college with a guy at another big college and you guys went to the same camp together.

“You can get so much knowledge from watching other kickers kick. The group setting is just a great atmosphere to get better.”

Dalton, who punted, kicked off and field goals for the Conqs, had some of the more impressive kicks of the day, although Ramey certainly stole the show with some of his booming kicks.

Dalton said Lompoc grad and friend Jose Morales was expected to kick and help out at the camp but didn’t because of an injury. Morales was expected to kick for Hancock College this season, but it’s looking like he won’t be physically able to this year.

Dalton added he’s been working with Vinnedge for over three years. He was named to the All-Los Padres League for his work last season. Dalton also played soccer and tennis for the Conqs and was named the Male Athlete of the Year at Cabrillo for the 2012-13 school year.