Cameron excelled on the court and beam

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Texas middle blocker, Haley Cameron excels on the volleyball court, but she used to be an excellent gymnast as well. Cameron decided to give up gymnastics after tearing her ACL, but she still uses the skills she learned in gymnastics on the volleyball court every day and remembers her days on the beam fondly.

Photo Credit: Trent Lesikar | Daily Texan Staff

People usually wouldn’t expect a 6-foot-3 volleyball player to thrive in gymnastics. But up until her freshman year of high school, sophomore middle blocker Haley Cameron was competing on the court and on the beam.

Cameron, a Southern California native, has a little extra help with her volleyball skills from the sport. But, after tearing her ACL playing volleyball, she left gymnastics behind.

“I was planning on keeping up with gymnastics for a long time,” Cameron said. “But then when I tore my ACL I couldn’t really do gymnastics anymore so that kind of just faded away and volleyball became my main focus.”

Her sophomore year, she began getting interest from colleges and realized that volleyball was a better option for her, even though gymnastics was still her passion at the time. She used to compare the two sports a lot, but eventually she began falling in love with volleyball instead.

“Gymnastics is a really time-consuming sport so just having that not in your life anymore is a weird thing and a big transition,” Cameron said. “My knee surgery helped with the gradual change.”

Although Cameron is 6-foot-3, she said her height didn’t really affect her that much in gymnastics.

“I started when I was young and I was always tall back then, so I didn’t really know any different,” Cameron said. “But my feet were bigger for the four-inch beam and the bars weren’t quite far enough apart but I made it work because I didn’t know any other way.”

Cameron loves being on a team and being around friends supporting her. She began gymnastics when she was six and began competing in all events when she was nine. Although she hasn’t competed in gymnastics for years, she doesn’t know which sport she likes better.

“With volleyball, you definitely get out of your own head and it makes going to the competition part more fun because you can share a win with your teammates versus just yourself,” Cameron said.

She began gymnastics because she could never stay upright — she was always doing cartwheels and hand stands. But she stuck with the sport because she loved it.

“I would just go out in my backyard and do flips and flips all day long,” Cameron said.

She said gymnastics has helped her with volleyball, especially when it comes to jumping and coordination. Being so tall, it is often difficult to maintain coordination and speed, but Cameron believes gymnastics has helped her with it.

Although her gymnastics career is over, every once in a while she will do a simple gymnastics trick — but she has to be careful because of her knee.

“Sometimes I do feel myself get claustrophobic and sometimes I just want to go do a flip,” Cameron said. “Every once in awhile I will do some stuff out on the floor like handstands and everyone forgets I can do it.”

Cameron had the game-winning kill in No. 10 Texas’ win over Texas Tech last week. Texas is on a four-game winning streak and will look to continue it tonight as they take on Baylor in Waco. The Longhorns are currently 5-1 in Big 12 play, while the Bears are 3-4. 

Published on, October 19th, 2011 as: Flips, spikes for Cameron on floor