Wallenpaupack Area standout is ready for her sophomore season
Freshmen made their marks in a number of sports last year at Wallenpaupack Area.
One, however, Kara Campbell, managed to walk away with multiple medals earned at district events, including a gold.
Being a plebe on any team can be tough.
Although things have lightened up considerably over the last couple of decades, freshmen are still freshmen and earning your keep can be pretty stressful.
Having a successful older sibling on the team is bad enough. Add to that, one of your parents is the head coach…well. Thus, was the situation when Kara jumped into the proverbial Paupack pool this past year.
Having come up through the ranks swimming for the Greater Scranton YMCA, Kara was no stranger to the lanes and with mom, Stephanie strolling the deck and big sister Cailin already on the squad, she was more than ready to plunge right in.
While swimming is a team event, there’s a lot of room for individuals to make considerable contributions.
There’s no arguing that the Lady Bucks have been on the upswing over the past two seasons, but Kara’s impact on the team was both sudden and significant.
Losing meets only to Delaware Valley and Abington Heights this past season, the Paupack ladies improved from a 5-4 record during the winter of 2015-16 to a 7-2 tally last season.
At the PIAA District Two AAA championships, Kara led a good portion of the 100M butterfly. However, she was edged out by just a few strokes, falling to the veteran, multi-medalist senior, Denali Hutzelmann, from DV.
Just a thirtieth of a second was the difference between their final times. That performance earned Campbell a silver medal but she was far from finished.
Battling against 29 other entrants, many of which were experienced upperclassmen, Kara went on to demolish the field in the 100m freestyle.
Coming in 1.12 seconds ahead of two seasoned senior swimmers from Wyoming Valley West and Abington Heights, she easily captured the gold medal in that event.
Additionally, Kara joined forces with other Paupack ladies for two relay events. In the 200M freestyle relay they won third place and in the 400, freestyle relay, they took second.
“One of the things I love about swimming is that the competition is great but everyone is friends afterwards,” said Kara.
Kara was the keeper for the Paupack girls JV squad last year, but as a sophomore has decided to step off the pitch in order to better focus on swimming.
However, she finished seventh in the 400M dash and was an alternate for the Lady Buckhorns state 4x400 relay team.
She also landed in seventh place in the triple jump, a memorable moment for her. Hitting that distance was a personal record, something which she said put a smile on Coach Randy Schmalzle’s face because he knew she could hit that mark.
While soccer may not be in her future, track certainly seems to be.
Outside of sports, Kara was elected vice-president of her class and has maintained a presence on the high honor roll with a 4.3 GPA.
College may still be a long way off, but she knows she wants to swim at the collegiate level and major in environmental sciences.
Not surprisingly, Kara looks to her mom for inspiration in the pool but also is a fan of five-time Olympic Gold Medalist Dana Vollmer and the US swim team in general.
Kara earned the “Most Valuable Swimmer” award for the Lady Buckhorns last year and also was named to the All-Region team.
As a sophomore, maintaining that level will take a lot of work, but she feels she’s up to the challenge.
“I dedicate a lot of my time to swimming,” Kara said. “When I’m not swimming for the school, I swim for the YMCA team. At districts, when I won the 100 free I truly realized my love for the sport.
“This year I’m looking to improve my times and my strokes but also develop friendships with the people on my team and other teams as well.”