Camille Freeman, a 16-year-old senior at Wilde Lake, captains the Wildecats varsity volleyball team and is, in the words of her coach, Caitlin Geoghan, "the most vocal leader we have."
This year's squad is 11-3 overall, 11-2 in the county, compiling the best record in the program's history. Freeman, a first-year varsity player, and the Wildecats will begin play in the Class 3A East regional playoffs tomorrow.
Your volleyball team has been something of a surprise this year, hasn't it?
Yes. The county didn't expect us to be as good as we are. We weren't expecting it, either. River Hill, Centennial and Reservoir were looked at as the best three teams in the county, but at the end of the day, we're No. 2 in the county.
Do you have other interests besides volleyball?
Volleyball takes up a lot of my time, but I go to church every Sunday. My dad is the pastor at the New St. Mark Baptist Church on Springdale Ave., in Baltimore. And I have a 9-year-old sister who I enjoy spending time with because I know next year I'll be gone and she'll have no one to hang out with.
What about schoolwork?
I guess I should start by saying I've stepped up my game a lot this year. This is my first year playing varsity volleyball because last year I was ineligible because I failed geometry. In order to play, you can't have any 'E's' on your report card. We haven't gotten our report cards yet, but I've calculated that I should have a 3.0.
What did you learn last year when you couldn't play?
I could write a book about this. When I got my report card, I was praying as I opened it, because there was a 50-50 chance it could be a D or E. When I saw the E, I broke down completely in tears. The reality was when the first game was played. I was in the stands and wishing I could have been on the court with the rest of the girls, but I couldn't because I didn't do my job as a student, which comes before everything.
Was it a hard lesson to learn?
Oh, yes. Well, let me tell you the whole story. I learned my lesson twice. This past fourth quarter in English I failed, which meant I would have been ineligible as a senior for this year's team. So you're thinking, 'How does she play?' We had a meeting with my English teacher, and I told her I didn't do what I should have done. So this summer, I went to summer school to take geometry, which I had to pay for. And then, in addition, I had to re-do all eight journals for English and a project to be eligible for this year's team. I worked extra hard to be able to play. Not many teachers would have given me this chance, and I really appreciate it. I had to work hard to make sure I could play because knowing you couldn't do something you loved hurt really bad.
Are you sure it won't happen again?
I learned my lesson, definitely. I learned you have to work hard for what you want in life because it isn't always going to be given to you.
Do you know what you want to do with your life?
I want to be a high school teacher. I don't know what subject yet. But I want to be a teacher. I feel I would be able to [relate to] the students, given the lessons I've learned.
With the playoffs coming, do you expect Wilde Lake to continue to advance?
I do. Because you have to always expect the unexpected. This season reminds me of a movie because we're underestimated. We've already defeated the state champions. Now we have to overcome Centennial.