The Ultimate athlete is a student who trains hard and is committed to excellence, on and off the field. Their work ethic, dedication, determination, and mental toughness is what makes these athletes truly exceptional. Each week the Country Herald will support these incredible student-athletes in our series, The Ultimate.
This week’s Ultimate is Camden Kearney, a sophomore at Kankakee High School. Camden plays baseball, basketball and football. When described by his baseball coach, Brian Manering, he said, “Camden is a special kid. He is always willing to learn and work hard at everything he does. He was co-MVP for us this year as a freshman! He even broke the school record for batting average in a season at .533.”
“He is a truly special young man that is going to do great things not just for Kankakee, but for whatever college he attends and beyond. I am fortunate to have coached him as an 8th and 9th grader. He gets it done in the classroom as well. He has great parents that are at ever game to cheer him on. I can’t say enough great things about Camden. His future is bright and I can’t wait to see what he is going to do moving forward.”
Camden, what’s your favorite movie about sports?
My favorite sports movie would have to be The Benchwarmers. I have watched this movie so many times. I just love how at the end the guys let the kids, that did not fit in when playing sports, get their moment to shine and play the game of baseball.
When did you first get involved in sports?
I began my sports career at the age of five with t-ball. By the age seven I made my first all-star team. At age eight I was on my first travel team. At the age of 10 I played for two different age groups and was doing travel. That summer alone, I played around 80 games, but I loved every second of it!
Who would you say are the heroes in your life?
My parents are my heroes.
What do you admire about your parents?
They care for me and my siblings and will do anything to make us happy. Between my siblings and I, we may have three different games, at three different places, and they will manage to somehow make all three. They sacrifice their wants and needs to put us first.
Do you have a favorite song to listen to prior too competing?
I do not really listen to music before a game to get ready. However, this past baseball season, we had the opportunity to play at the Slammers Stadium and were allowed walk up songs. My friends picked mine and chose “Walk I Like I Talk It.”
What are your future aspirations after high school?
My dream is to get a scholarship, whether it be academically or athletically, so I can go to college and study to become an architect.
Do you have a plan in place to fulfill your dreams?
My plan is already in place by getting good grades and being involved in sports.
What college would you like to attend after high school?
If I could pick my dream college, I would want to go to Michigan State or Virginia, but honestly whatever school offers me a scholarship and has the degree that I am interested in-I will take it! If my dad had his way, I would be a Fighting Illini!
Is it difficult for you to balance sports with schoolwork?
It is not difficult to balance because I am a student-athlete, which means school always comes first. I want to go to college, not only because I am successful with baseball, but because I am successful with my education. School always comes before sports.
What is a typical day like in the life of Camden?
A typical day for me during school year is I wake up, go to school and then it is usually off to some sort of sport, depending on the season. After practice, I am home to do my homework, dinner, shower and off to bed. The next day….wake up and repeat.
Have you ever had any nail-biting incidents that have had a happy ending?
My last year of Bronco baseball I pitched the entire game to win the championship. The other team began to come back but I was able to stay in, stay focused, and with the amazing help of my team, finish it off with the championship!
What motivates you to continue to play sports?
What motivates me to continue to play sports is the love of the game. I love to play baseball and when I am on the field, I feel like I am in a different world with no cares but the ball in my hand and the strike zone at the other end!!
What would you say the role of a sports parent is? Also, what is the role of the athlete’s coach?
I feel like the roles could be similar between a parent and a coach. They both are there to cheer us on, pick us up when we fall, and never let us give up. My parents help teach me how to be a humble winner and how not to be a sore loser. My coach helps me learn from my mistakes I had on the field and find a solution to help correct them from happening again.
How does being an athlete make you a better person?
Being an athlete helps me understand that losing and making mistakes is not a bad thing because you can always learn from your mistakes. I like to focus on, not only my great moments as an athlete, but also the opportunities that I have to be a great teammate. I would rather be known as a great person than a great athlete. If I can be known as both that is golden! I hope all of my teammates from all of my teams, past to present, would remember me as someone who tried to lift them up when they were down, because that is how I remember them.
What are some words of encouragement you would give a younger athlete?
Some words of encouragement are to never fall and break. Keep your head up and learn from your mistakes that have happened. Stay focused and most importantly, have fun!! Enjoy what you are doing in the moment!
Know a local athlete that you believe is The Ultimate? Tell us who you would like spotlighted by completing the form here, at gocorn.org/athlete.