Gates senior sets mark

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 20, 2006

GATESVILLE – The very best.

The phrase itself often is the beginning of arguments in the sports world that go on for years.

Not so when it comes to tennis at Gates County High School.

Clearly the best female to ever step on a court for the Red Barons is senior Elizabeth Campbell.

The Eure native accomplished a feat in four years at GCHS that has never been duplicated. She made the 1-A regionals all four years of playing for the Lady Red Barons.

&uot;I was a cheerleader at Central Middle,&uot; Campbell said. &uot;I tried tennis when I came here because it was something new and it was something I could keep the rest of my life.&uot;

While she was learning to play the game that likely will follow here into her adult and senior years, Campbell was shattering marks set by the Red Barons.

During her freshman, sophomore and junior seasons, Campbell and a partner made it to the regionals in doubles. As a freshman she played with Nikki Perry and after that teamed with Brianne Eure.

In her junior and senior years, Campbell made it to the regionals as a singles player, doing so this year as Gates County’s top seed.

&uot;I’ve enjoyed every season and making new friendships with the girls on the team,&uot; Campbell said. &uot;They’ll be friends for life.&uot;

Though she had played a little bit of tennis before her freshman year, Campbell said she didn’t even know how to keep score. She started learning during a summer camp in Atlantic Beach before her freshman year. She was a quick study.

During her four years wearing the red-and-white of the Red Barons, Campbell said she had taken pride in playing for her school.

This senior season was no different as she took the banner of her team and won the right to play in the regionals by being the best player in the Albemarle Conference.

While she didn’t advance past the regional opener, Campbell said the experience was a good one.

&uot;It was intimidating watching girls who played all their lives, but I enjoyed it,&uot; she said. &uot;I was pleased that I could be out there competing even though I didn’t have the same background.

&uot;I won’t forget seeing all the girls warming up before the tournament,&uot; she added.

The season itself was good for Campbell, not just because of the success.

&uot;This was the year I had the most fun because I enjoyed my teammates,&uot; she said. &uot;Practices were fun because one day of every week we just enjoyed ourselves.&uot;

Representing her school in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state tennis tournament was something Campbell appreciated.

&uot;It makes me proud to know I can represent our school in this way,&uot; she said. &uot;I want Gates County to be seen as a great place.

&uot;I’m also happy my coach (Susan McLawhorn) can say she sent someone to regionals for four years,&uot; Campbell added.

The coach has been important to Campbell as the two began together four years ago.

&uot;She’s become a great friend to me because I can talk to her about things other than tennis,&uot; Campbell said.

Campbell has been active at Gates County High School. In addition to being the top seed on the tennis team, she is the Senior Class President, a member of FCA and the BETA Club.

In the community, Campbell is part of the Eure Baptist Church youth group and has worked in her church with Vacation Bible School for two consecutive years.

She is the daughter of Ray and Nancy Campbell of Eure.