Southwest’s Camp signs with Limestone

Jun. 10, 2013 @ 11:42 PM

Wrestling runs through Patrick Camp’s veins.

After considering for a while giving it up, he realized just how deeply it really runs in him. And now, Camp, a senior at Southwest Guilford, has signed to continue wrestling at NCAA Division II school Limestone College.

“I’m looking forward to it a lot,” says Camp, the son of James and Linda of High Point. “I can’t wait to be in a Limestone singlet and show them what I’m made of. It’s going to be a different experience for sure.”

Camp, who mainly wrestled at 170 pounds but also competed at 160 during his career, vividly remembers getting started. One day when he was 5 years old, his dad asked him if he wanted to sign up for wrestling.

“He said, ‘It’s in the family. You’re going to wrestle,’’’ Camp recalls. “I was like, ‘OK.’ And he went and signed me up.”

His dad wrestled in high school and his cousin won a national title at Harvard. So, from that moment on, it was part of his identity as well — starting with his first tournament, in which he placed second.

“Right then, I was like, all right, maybe I’m good at what I’m doing and should keep it going,” he says. “I’ve always wrestled ever since and, honestly, I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”

Camp quickly became a force early into high school. His sophomore year, Camp drew the attention of longtime Cowboys coach Jim Coggins, who wrestled at Appalachian State in the late 1960s and early ‘70s.

“He said, ‘The way you wrestle is at that college level,’” Camp says. “That made me feel like, maybe he’s right, because he wrestled in college. That opened up my mind a lot more, like, maybe I’m good enough to do what I’m doing.”

He competed well as an underclassman, and that helped lead to a lot of success as a junior and senior. He was twice the Piedmont Triad 4A champion, twice the regional champion and twice finished in the top six in the state.

On the mats and off, Camp, who was named PTC Wrestler of the Year as a senior, was a leader in large part because of his tremendous work ethic, training and determination to be successful — which paid huge dividends.

“He and a couple others were the anchor of the program for several years,” Coggins said. “Basically, in his weight class, you could just forget about him and concentrate on getting the job done other places.

“So, team-wise, his contributions were practically immeasurable. You didn’t have to worry about where he was. And his skills in practice, he would bring other guys up to his level so they’d become better as well.”

But the grind began to wear on him a bit more, and Camp considered giving up wrestling in college. But watching Cornell’s Kyle Drake make history this year by winning his fourth NCAA title in four different weight classes reenergized him.

“I just said to myself: Maybe that could be me one day; maybe I could win a national title,” he says. “I realized I loved it too much just to let it go like that. It felt a lot better to say I’m actually going to wrestle in college and do what I do.”

After weighing his options, which also included looking at Appalachian State, he decided on Limestone, which sent two freshman wrestlers to the NCAA Division II Championships this year.

“I feel Limestone is where I need to be,” says Camp, who wants to study history and criminal justice. “The campus is really nice, and I love the wrestling community there. They treat you like family — it’s not a team, it’s a family.”