It was quite a year for female athletes at Camdenton.
It was quite a year for female athletes at Camdenton.
The annual Sports Commission Awards at the Oasis Hotel & Convention Center in Springfield took some time to recognize that Monday night as a trio of Lakers in seniors Kylie Meier and Amber Wilson, along with junior Natalie Basham, were nominated for awards among the top 123 athletes and 26 teams across southwest Missouri. A sold-out crowd of almost 900 eagerly anticipated the award recipients of all 27 categories that were chosen by a selection committee and Camdenton did not walk away empty-handed.
Wilson was chosen among five nominees as the Girls’ Golfer of the Year and Meier was named the Girls’ Track and Field Athlete of the Year amongst a group of six. Basham’s name was not called, but she was nominated not only for track and field but also as one of just five for Girls’ Athlete of the Year for her accomplishments in volleyball and basketball as well. While any individual feat is nice, perhaps it is no surprise that all three were in Springfield Monday night as their roots go way beyond what took place this past school year.
“Obviously we all kind of grew up together so we’ve known athleticism. Amber and I used to play on the softball team together and I’ve known Natalie since middle school,” Meier said of her track and field teammate. “It is kind of awesome we’ve been able to push each other to lead to these types of moments where we’ve been able to spend the whole time through it together. It is really cool that we got to push each other day in and day out.”
Basham agreed and credited Meier for her own success, noting that she does not want to see any of those good times end.
“On and off the court whether it is in school or out of school, we are always striving to be the best people we can,” the junior remarked.
“It is scary seeing the athletes moving on, knowing Kylie is going to be gone. It is scary because she has helped me through everything whether it is volleyball, basketball or track, but I’m excited to see what next year brings me.”
While Monday night may have marked the final chapter for Wilson and Meier as high school athletes, their stories will go on as their hard work led them to the collegiate ranks. Wilson will hit the links for the University of Missouri-St. Louis next year and Meier will be flying down the track for the University of Arkansas, but both were glad to be recognized as Lakers one last time.
Wilson certainly did not disappoint in her final season as she won 10 out of 11 events on the year and finished as the Class 2 runner-up state champion with the second best score in the state. Overall, she ended her career with two straight conference titles and three straight district championships while making All-Ozark Conference all four years, All-District all four years and All-State three years in a row. All those accolades made for plenty of good memories, but the senior is ready for the path ahead.
“It was really exciting and fun with the team and everyone pushing each other. We all just kind of bonded all together to just become a great family,” the golfer said.
“I’m going to miss Camdenton a lot because I’ve gone there all 13 years of school. This is not really the end, but just the beginning because I’ve got college coming up. You never want to be satisfied, but it is a great feeling,” she said of the award.
Meier could not really ask for a better ending either. The senior made All-State in all four events she competed in at the Class 4 state meet in Jefferson City where she brought home a pair of state championships in the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles, while helping the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams both finish second.
“I thought it was cool that this was kind of like a little bit of closure for high school knowing this is the last high school event we’ll attend. I know Amber and I have plans to go further on in our collegiate careers, but it is really cool we could say we made it to something that could honor us like this,” Meier said after receiving a Sports Commission Award for the first time in her career.
Meier’s highly-decorated time as a Laker includes five total state titles between individual and relay events and she defended her 300-hurdles title for three straight years while making All-State a total of 10 times over the course of her career. Overall, her efforts played a major role in the program capturing its first team state championship in school history a season ago and a third place finish this past spring.
“It was super fun. Some of it was unexpected but good surprises like things you would not have dreamed of happening, but turned out to be reality,” she said of her time at Camdenton. “It is just an amazing, surreal feeling.”
Basham also knows a thing or two about hard work and it showed as she won numerous accolades in all three sports she competed in. She was an All-Ozark Conference and All-District performer on the volleyball court in the fall; did the same in basketball during the winter where she helped the team win its first district title since 2015 and first sectional title in 39 years and wrapped things up in the spring with four All-State finishes on the track. The defending 100-hurdles state champion placed second only behind Meier while finishing seventh in the 400-meter dash and helping the 4x200 and 4x400 relay teams both capture second as well.
Being successful in one sport takes plenty of dedication on its own, but Basham was prepared for all three never really taking a day off for the Lakers. Her presence on all three teams clearly made a difference.
“It is an amazing feeling,” the junior said of her nominations. “You take one sport at a time, push through every day of practice and go from there seeing what you can get out of every practice and game.”
All three Lakers certainly seemed to get the most out of this past school year and if being recognized not only among the best of southwest Missouri but across the state is any indication, the will and drive all three put forth for each sport may certainly be a good precedent for anyone to follow.