KAYSVILLE — Going into battle is like blowing out birthday candles. Close your eyes and pick out something you love. Focus on that one thing and nothing else matters.
Such is the passion that intertwines Camille Walker with volleyball.
“How are we ever going to replace a Camille Walker with everything she does?” Davis High coach Lori Salvo said. “Camille was solid in every position. She was a very humble player, not cocky or arrogant.”
In Walker’s three years as a starter, the Darts rang up a Region 1 three-peat with a scintillating 33-1 record and swept the 2011 state 5-A championship. Davis took third place in the 5-A tournament in both 2010 and 2012 and compiled a 90-12 overall mark.
“I have no regrets in high school,” said the 17-year-old Walker, who signed with BYU on Nov. 18. “The whole journey of it and the time I got to spend with the girls and coaches. They are some of my closest friends.
“I stopped playing other sports when I started playing club ball because volleyball is all I ever wanted to do,” she said.
Pleasant Grove, a team the Darts swept in their Aug. 21 season opener, knocked out Davis in three sets in the 5-A semifinals on Nov. 3 at Utah Valley University.
“As much as it sucked to lose, it’s past and not something I think about,” Walker said. “Since I’ve signed, it’s in the past. I have other things to look forward to and it’s not the end of my career.
“Pleasant Grove came out and played a lot stronger than we did,” she said. “We had a hard time putting the ball away and our mindset wasn’t where it needed to be. We didn’t expect them to beat everybody like they did. It was a bummer losing to them twice. We were looking for revenge against Pleasant Grove at state, but it didn’t happen.”
Walker joins her older sister, Kayla, in being selected the Standard-Examiner All-Area Volleyball Team’s Most Valuable Player.
Kayla earned the prestigious high school honor during her 2005 senior year at Davis.
“Kayla has been my biggest role model in volleyball, so to win the award as she did means a lot to me and is kind of special,” Camille said.
Kayla, who signed with Pepperdine out of high school, finished her college career at BYU in 2009.
“I committed a year ago to BYU,” Walker said. “It’s scary because it’s getting closer, but I’m excited.”
She will enroll in summer school, starting June 24.
“I’ll be able to lift and do some things with the team before fall semester. I’m taking three classes,” Walker said. “Right now, I want to go into exercise science, but I don’t want to be a trainer.
“Early in the recruiting process, I was considering going out of state. I made an unofficial visit the summer before my junior year at San Diego. But I didn’t want to leave my mom and dad,” she said. “I’m a homebody; I wanted to stay in state.”
“Camille is so positive and upbeat and continued to do whatever it took to make our team better,” Salvo said. “She didn’t let anything get to her and never let the little things bother her. I loved what kind of teammate and person Camille was.
“Camille reminds me of (my daughter) Airial in how she makes her teammates feel,” Salvo said. “She became a better all-around player in every aspect of the game. Camille never came to me and said, ‘Coach I need more swings.’ I think she will do well at the next level. Camille is a stud muffin who I love and she rocks. But I can say that about all my players.”
In watching her play, you would never know Walker has senior rheumatoid arthritis.
She got the devastating news nine months ago.
“I was first diagnosed in March, but I was feeling pain for three months before that. It wasn’t constant, then it started becoming constant in February,” Walker said. “They have me on medication, so as long as I take my medication, I’m fine.”
She was experiencing pain in her shoulders, wrists, knees, elbows, ankles and feet — anywhere her body flexes.
“It made me want to work that much harder and not stop me from playing,” Walker said. “I’m not going to let this stop me, and there was no way I was going to miss my senior year or any of college.
“It wasn’t going to change me as a person,” she said. “It’s been really hard and has been a trial. I’m grateful for the little things, and it has made me more humble. For the most part, I’m not physically limited in what I can do.”