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My Life: It's more than sports for Mainland's Camryn Dirkes
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MY LIFE

My Life: It's more than sports for Mainland's Camryn Dirkes

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Camryn Dirkes played point guard as a freshman for the Mainland Regional High School girls basketball team that won the state Group III championship in 2019.

This past fall, she scored the winning goal as the Mustangs girls soccer team ended Ocean City’s 45-game unbeaten streak with a 1-0 double overtime victory in the South Jersey Group III final.

As memorable as those achievements are, there’s even more to her Mainland Regional experience.

The senior also plays alto saxophone in the school’s concert band, which performs a winter concert, a spring concert and at graduation.

“My parents made my brother, sister and I pick up an instrument in the fourth grade,” Dirkes said. “We had to do it all through middle school and in high school. You had to at least start and participate in the band. I chose to stick with it. I really enjoy the class.”

Back in the athletic world, Dirkes and her Mustangs girls basketball teammates are off to a 7-0 start this winter. The Mustangs, ranked No. 2 in The Press’ Elite 11, will meet traditional state power Manasquan 11 a.m. Saturday at Holy Spirit in a Seagull Classic matchup.

“We put a lot of work into the preseason,” Dirkes said, “and it’s really showing this year. We’re all great friends. That’s a big part.”

Dirkes, 18, lives in Linwood with her parents Linda and Cliff. She is the youngest in her family with a sister Emily, 21, and brother Taylor, 23.

In addition to basketball and soccer, Dirkes also excels at track and field in the spring. She does not plan to play sports in college, however. Dirkes says she will major in business administration but has yet to pick a school.

In a telephone interview Tuesday afternoon, Dirkes discussed a number of topics, including what it’s like to be a three-sport athlete.

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On how she started playing sports

I’m the youngest of three kids. My brother played sports. My sister played sports. My parents are athletic. Ever since I was a baby, I had a ball in my hand, and hanging out with my friends solidified my passion for it. I had so much fun doing it.

On being a three-sport athlete

It’s easier than people expect. You’re moving on from one thing to the next right away. There’s not time to think about it. Honestly, I love playing all three sports. I’m so happy I never picked one specific sport to stick to. Each season is a little bit different.

On her decision not to play college sports

It was a really hard decision. I was happy and fortunate to have time to think about it during quarantine. I really looked into what I wanted. A lot of factors came into it. But I really want to go to a big school and obviously sports are more competitive at a big school. I just really want to focus on academics and follow that path and see where it leads me.

On winning a state basketball championship

I’ve replayed that moment and that game in my mind so many times. I’ve watched the game with (coach Scott Betson) on Hudl so many times. It’s surreal. Not many people get to say they’re a state champion. Nothing compares to something like that.

On her interests outside of sports

I’m in the concert band. I’m in art class. I do art, doodling and painting outside of school. I have a good group of friends that I’ve hung out with since sixth grade.

On being the youngest in the family

It’s a lot of fun. My brother and sister were both away (at college) last year and the year before. It was nice being an only child for a little bit. I’m definitely close with my parents. I get spoiled at times (laughs), definitely. But it’s fun because I get not just my parents to look up to but my older siblings too.

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