Camps, Hayes carry on legacy begun by the older siblings

Micheal Lucente, Staff writer

It’s 2014 and the first middle-school track practice of the year is underway. Seventh-graders Austin Hayes and Christian Camps, who barely know each other, lace up their sneakers for the first time as runners for West Shore. Having siblings in track and cross-country, they know they have expectations to live up to.

Fast forward to 2019, Hayes and Camps have become close friends, and together they lead the varsity track team as co-captains.

“Christian has been one of my best friends for years, and it goes deeper than us just being cross-country and track teammates, ” Hayes said. “In school and outside of school we have grown close, and it’s been great to have someone like him by my side.”

Similarly, Camps also loves having one of his best friends by his side leading the team during the season.

“Having my co-captain be my friend makes going to track every day a lot more fun, and it helps push me every practice to run with him,” Camps said.

Running appears to be in the blood for the Hayes and the Camps families as both Austin’s and Christian’s older brothers ran for the varsity team.

“My whole family runs and my older brother Austin was on the cross- country team, so I figured I would try it out and turns out, it was pretty fun,” Camps said.

Last year, Hayes’s brother Jared was the track-team captain and left his mark on the sport.

“I don’t feel any pressure following my brother,” Hayes said. “I learned a lot from him the past couple years, and I’m proud to be a good role model to the younger runners like he was.”

The coaches have seen the senior duo grow as runners.

“The two of them have been a great influence on the running program at West Shore,” Coach Bryan Cheek said. “To be a successful high-school runner, you are running year-round, and those two set a great example. You can count on them to be at practice every day.  We run seven days a week most of the year, especially during cross-country, and they are leading the workout every day.  They are also ambassadors for the program in the community, participating in local races and making a good name for West Shore running even when it’s not in a school uniform.”

Freshman Alex Skaggs reflects on what the two captains have done for him.

“Christian and Austin have really motivated me a lot in running the 400 because they say that I have a lot of potential with the times that I’m hitting now as a freshman,” Skaggs said. “I really enjoying running with them because I can ask them questions and they almost always know the answer, and I can also get tips from them since they have so much experience with running already.”

Sophomore runner Brayden Cheek is also thankful to have Hayes and Camps to lead him.

“Teamwork is a large part of the sport, and Christian and Austin have really demonstrated that,” Cheek said. “Their advice has helped me better myself as a runner because they both have a long history of running and they know some things that you can only get from experience.”

With the track season just beginning, Hayes and Camps have a lot to look forward to.

“This track season I look forward to being able to help the team grow and be as good as possible even after I’m gone,” Camps said.

Hayes also is anticipating the upcoming season.

“I think it’s inspiring to see how excited the younger guys are about running, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season brings,” Hayes said.

Camps and Hayes will continue to work hard in practice and hope for the best at the meets.

“Both of them were the right choices for team captain.” Cheek said. “Teammates look up to them. They are coachable and willing to listen when there’s opportunity for growth as both an athlete and a leader.  We will miss them in the running program and the running community next year.”