The road to reaching the Class 1A state track and field finals at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville has been an especially long journey for Bishop McLaughlin jumper Camille Baumrucker.
The senior is the lone qualifier from Bishop’s track and field squad, qualifying in the long jump (fourth place) and triple jump (second) at last week's Class 1A-Region 3 meet. Baumrucker is looking to make her last season a memorable one by possibly placing or winning an individual state title in either event. But Baumrucker's quest today may not have been foreseen if not for an extra push from Hurricanes coach Marty Williams.
“I’ve been one who has always just played sports for fun,” Baumrucker said. “Last year, coach Williams took me aside and told me that I had tons of potential and I just needed to work for it. After he gave me that speech, I was like he’s right and if he’s looking for me to improve, then I’m going to do it.”
A heartbreaking experience in last spring's 1A-Region 3 meet added more fuel to the fire. Baumrucker narrowly lost a state berth by 21/2 inches in the triple jump and was forced to accept the success of just reaching the region meet.
“Last year, I missed states on 21/2 inches on my triple jump and I was beat by an eighth-grader and that was kind of frustrating because I worked so hard all year,” Baumrucker said. “This year, I knew it was all on the line and I really needed to push for this. I worked really hard all year and I knew I'd have a strong chance to advance from regionals to states.”
Heading into this school year, Baumrucker, who was the lone region qualifier for Bishop’s swim team, knows the feeling of not having many teammates around in the latter stages of the state series but doesn’t harp on it.
“This actually happened to me in swimming, too, when I was the only region qualifier,” Baumrucker said. “It was just me, my mom and my coach and it got a little lonely. I'm used to it. It's fun and my teammates are great supporters.”
Williams knows Baumrucker’s chance at a state crown is there, but the ultimate goal will not to overlook the accomplishments the senior has grabbed along the way to Jacksonville.
“You got to give credit where it’s due,” Williams said. “She put in the time and put in the effort and it shows. You always love it when a kid steps up to the challenge. Camille is a realist and she knows her best event is her triple jump. Does she think she has a chance to place? I think she does.”