When it comes to top-flight high school volleyball talent, Atwater isn’t the first place most people look.
“It’s kind of funny too, when I went on my official (recruiting trip to Boise State), I said, ‘I’m from Atwater and they go where, where is that?,'” said Buhach Colony senior Cameron Gray.
Gray is helping to change that perception.
“Not a lot of athletes have come through Atwater and been successful,” said Gray. “So, I’m glad that I get to say that I’m going to be one of those athletes.”
Gray is the biggest reason why the thunder are 10-0 in Central California Conference play with one week left in the regular season, and the favorite to capture their first league title since 2007.
“Especially in a small community, people feel like they’re winning too,” said Adrienne Beltrami, Buhach Colony’s head coach. “When we win, they’re winning, when she’s winning, they’re winning, when she’s succeeding, we’re all succeeding.”
Gray is only 5 feet 8 inches tall, small by top-flight volleyball standards, but she makes up for it with a 31-inch vertical leap and great quickness.
Beltrami has been coaching volleyball for a long time, but says Gray’s athleticism is “top-notch” when compared to any other player she has ever coached.
That leaping ability — she can reach 11-feet off the ground after jumping — makes her a terrific outside hitter for the Thunder.
But in Division-1 college volleyball, where 5-foot-8 hitters are a rare breed, her skills translate to the libero position, a special position that plays in the back row as a defensive specialist only.
She had several college offers, including Fresno State, but will sign with Boise State this fall.
Even more impressive, Gray is also one of the top students in her class, carrying a 4.6 GPA, which means she’ll enroll at Boise State next year, having already completed two years of college coursework.
“A lot of time management. A lot of time management,” summed up Gray.
Cameron Gray, the Buhach Colony senior with the “big hops,” who has major college “chops,” this week’s High School Hot Shot.