Jackson High School senior Camille Wertzbar signed a letter of intent to play softball for Glen Oaks Community College last winter. She will go from a Jackson High School Viking to a Glen Oaks Viking this fall. Courtesy photo
By Jeff Steers
A road trip that spanned two-and-a-half days and four college campuses paid off for Jackson High School pitcher Camille Wertzbar.
It’s a good thing the senior didn’t wait until the spring to showcase her talents for college recruiters.
Wertzbar is one of thousands of seniors who had their seasons/careers cut short when the coronavirus hit in mid-March.
Schools were closed for three weeks before Gov. Gretchen Whitmer canceled school for good the first week in April.
When the Michigan High School Athletic Association canceled the spring season, Wertzbar was left to wonder what if.
“You have to put it all into perspective,” Camille said. “I didn’t think it would take this long for the virus to run its course.
Camille was approximately 100 strikeouts away from setting the school record for strikeouts in a season, according to her mother Jeannie – also her high school coach.
Being on a team with a sub .500 record can be tough, but Camille showcased her talent in travel ball and through showcase tournaments.
But the two took a road trip last year to four colleges in just over two days, working out with each team.
“It was a crazy road trip … but every school offered Camille a position,” Jeannie said. “I have told the girls not to overlook community colleges and the benefits.”
Last winter Camille signed with Glen Oaks Community College – a college more than 90 minutes away.
“It is in the middle of nowhere, but I like it,” Camille said. “The players and coaches clicked with me.”
It has been a long road to a college scholarship for Camille. She started playing coach-pitch at age four and progressed through different divisions.
“I don’t know anything else but playing in weekend tournaments,” Camille said. “I like being the pitcher so you can control the whole game.”
But there is one thing that controls Camille from time to time. She suffers from Gitelman syndrome – a rare kidney disorder that causes an imbalance of charged ions in the body, including potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
The signs and symptoms of Gitelman syndrome usually appear in late childhood or adolescence.
“We thought it was heat strokes when it first started,” Jeannie said. “Camille goes to a chiropractor once a week, has physical therapy, and we always make sure to have extra V-8s and orange juice.
“It will never go away as both of her parents are carriers.”
But Camille has thrived at JHS despite not having the best backing at times. Last year she set a school record with 16 strikeouts, but lost the game. It is a hard lesson to learn for a teenager.
“No matter what the team, you have to learn to depend on your teammates,” Camille said. “I have met some of my best friends in life through softball.”
She plans to study criminal justice in college. Camille is sad for not being able to compete this spring, but is ready to move on.
“I love my friends from school and teammates … but I am so done with high school,” Camille said.
Only this fall she will go from a Jackson Viking to a Glen Oaks Viking.
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