For a dedicated athlete, the passion that being on the field, or the court, can bring to their life is difficult to replace when moving forward in life, much less moving forward in a pandemic.
For Quyon native, 2020 Pontiac High School (PHS) graduate and gifted athlete Camryn Gibbons however, keeping her eyes on the end goal is what’s most important as she weathers the storm through her first year of studies at Cégep Heritage College in Gatineau.
“Right now, it’s hard to stay motivated,” she admitted. “But you always just have to look at the end result.”
For Camryn, that end goal is playing varsity rugby and beginning medical studies at university, once she finishes her two-year science program.
“Out of all the sports I played in high school, rugby definitely stood out to me the most so I’d love to play university level rugby and go as far as I can with it, but I also want to pursue in the medical field and become a dentist,” she said.
Having thrived as a four sport athlete in high school while maintaining excellent grades, Gibbons knows a thing or two about keeping her nose to the grindstone, as well as being recognized for doing so.
Several weeks ago, she and her parents, Lynn Chevrier and James Gibbons, were surprised to discover she had been given a prestigious recognition at the 2020 Outaouais Sportive Gala of Excellence, for Academic Excellence as a Student Athlete.
“My mom got an email in about mid-July and at first we thought that I just got nominated for the award so we weren’t sure exactly what it was or if I had actually won,” Camryn explained. “I was kind of shocked, [but] I was just really proud of myself.”
“We were ecstatic, it was a really nice award for her to win, you know for her to be recognized as … a dedicated athlete and student … because Camryn is the type of person where when she sets her mind to do something, she gives it [her all],” Chevrier said.
Chevrier said she definitely noticed the weight of the pandemic and not being able to play sports on Camryn in the beginning, especially with it nixing any chance of her playing the spring rugby season in her graduating year.
“She was quite upset, she found it very difficult,” she said.
Starting college was another hurdle for Camryn, as she was only able to play on the Cégep rugby team for the month of September before that got interrupted by COVID restrictions.
“She was excited to go to Cégep, [but] she’s in college now all from home,” Chevrier added. “It’s like she’s not even in college, it’s kind of weird. But hopefully it will all get back on track.”
For Camryn, thriving in one field always went hand in hand with thriving in the other. She’s always been skilled at sports, but it takes more than just talent to be recognized for PHS senior athlete of the year in 2019 and 2020 and junior athlete of the year in 2017, while also achieving the highest average in her year from grades 8-10.
Camryn said she has done her best to bring that same best foot forward mindset to college as she nears the end of her first year. In the meantime, she’s taken advantage of the cold weather to get back on local outdoor rinks as much as she can, while also using a little home gym set-up to keep putting the work in, which is nothing new for her.
“Even when I’m not in the season, I’m always training and trying to become a better athlete,” she said.
Camryn’s sport of choice is rugby, but she’s also played competitive hockey from the age of four, while also playing basketball, volleyball and track and field through high school. While rugby was where she thrived the most, she also went to provincials for track and field one year.
Regardless of the sport though, Camryn has always found comfort in the sporting arena, where she seamlessly goes into her flow state.
“It’s just the way it makes you feel you know, like any sport you play when you’re on the court or the field, everything just goes away and you just go as hard as you can,” Camryn said. “It really relieves the stress that comes with just life in general.”
Chevrier said it’s always been obvious to her that the sporting arena is where Camryn most wants to be.
Camryn’s older brother is currently studying at McGill University, a school she said she’s set her sights on while she plugs away at Cégep.
Chevrier said that although Camryn’s future goals of going to university and choosing a demanding field like dentistry while playing varsity rugby will be a big challenge, she knows Camryn is built to excel in that environment.
“I think she can do both, because just given the type of personality she is. She knows the importance of school and it’s very important for her because well, it’s her future. She’s the type of person I think … the more on her plate the better she does.”
While Camryn loves that her parents are always by her side supporting her efforts, she said that a lot of her internal drive has been just that, self-motivated.
“I don’t know [where she gets it from],” Chevrier said. “She doesn’t like failure … She’s always been that way, even in primary school.”
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