Columbia County's high school sports scene has offered several examples of intense, emotional action over the years. The thrill of victory, agony of defeat and other sports cliches come to life on almost a weekly basis.
Take all of that emotion, intensity, competitiveness and determination, ball it up and there stands Harlem High School senior Kacee Camp.
"She's a great athlete, no doubt about it. She can play," Harlem softball coach Mike Leverett said.
Of course, almost any coach would be quick to promote a player. It's a totally different situation when a coach from an opposing team does it.
That's the case with Greenbrier softball and boys basketball coach Garrett Black. He's coached in dozens of games against Camp in both sports.
"I just think she's a tremendous competitor," Black said. "I've loved competing against her in softball and basketball. I love watching kids like that play, and she's got the heart of a champion."
She has shown that heart every time she's stepped on the softball field or basketball court. Spectators at a Harlem basketball game can judge how the night's going just by watching Camp's face.
There's the icy glare or rolling of the eyes after a questionable foul call and the rigid game face during an effective full-court press. Her hands go up with a desperation look toward the heavens after a turnover. She appears to have a conversation with herself on the court if the situation calls for it. Other times, she's directing traffic or instructing teammates on what might work the next time down the floor.
Either way, good or bad, she's not afraid to show her emotions.
"It's just a fire to play, I guess. I've always been told to get after it by my mom," she said before a game against Evans on Friday. "It's not always bad. My facial expressions sometimes get the best of me."
Camp was named to the Columbia County Tip Off All-Tournament Team two weeks ago for her basketball play. She was voted the 2007 Harlem homecoming queen by her classmates. In softball, the awards are more plentiful.
Camp was a first team all-county player as a shortstop and catcher for the Lady Bulldogs this year. She hit .435 on the season with six doubles and 21 RBI. Her 1.072 on-base percentage is a big reason why the Lady Bulldogs won the Region 3B-AAA regular season title and went on to the Class AAA state sectional.
It's also why Camp will play softball at the next level.
"I always wanted to play in college, but I never knew for sure if I would," she said.
Camp will get that chance next fall. The Harlem senior has committed to play softball at Augusta State University.
It's the perfect fit for a lifelong Harlem resident, who has rarely played a softball or basketball game without her family in the stands. Her father, Steve Camp, was also a Harlem athlete at one time. By landing a spot on the Augusta State roster, the family outings to the softball field or basketball gym to see Camp play will continue into the college ranks.
Leverett said Augusta State will benefit from the commitment as well.
"They got a steal," he said. "They're going to get a player out of her."
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