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Athletes of the Month

By Colin Anderson

Camille Neuder, Senior

Senior Camille Neuder has been with the Sandpoint High School cross-country team since before she was even in high school. This spring she will captain her team for one last season. For Camille, it’s been the experience of a lifetime. “The journey that cross country has been makes it the highlight of my high school experience and really of my life. The culture of support, positivity, dedication, passion and friendship have taught me more lessons about life and the person I want to be than anything else,” she said.

Camille also lettered and captained the cross-country team this past fall and has competed in the state golf tournament, placing third with her team in 2019. A student of many interests, Camille sits at the top of her class, has received multiple scholastic awards, and was also named the local and state winner of the Distinguished Young Women program.

A trying time for Camille came after an injury her freshman season. It took her out of competition for the entirety of her sophomore year, but she was determined not to give up. “What kept me going was that I still came to practice every day, I still got to have time with my teammates and wonderful coaches, and when everyone would go out to run, I would go over to SWAC (now YMCA) and do my own workout of either swimming or being on the elliptical,” she recalled. “It was definitely challenging, but 100 times more rewarding. Nothing could top the feeling of getting to go on that first run back with my team.”

Camille plans to keep running when she goes to college, but as a way to clear her mind, give her day a boost and stay healthy. She is awaiting entrance decisions to some of the top engineering schools in the country and wants to pursue a degree in engineering physics or environmental science. “I want to work on making renewable and clean energy more accessible, affordable and efficient. I have always had a passion for math and science, and I want to be able to focus that passion to help fuel my passion for environmental protection,” she said.

Finally, Camille wants to thank her coach Angie Brass, who she now calls not just coach, but mentor and friend: “She has taught me so many lessons, and one that is particularly special is that silence is acceptance, you have your voice for a reason, and that you are strong enough to use it to stand up for what is right.”

Tag Benefield, Senior

Whether it’s on the wrestling mat or the football field, Sandpoint High School senior Tag Benefield loves to compete. In football, Tag thrives on the defensive side of the ball. He was named Defensive MVP for the third time his senior season and was also recently named to the first team for the state of Idaho at linebacker. Colleges are taking notice, and Tag is still considering where he might want to suit up and continue his career after graduation this spring.

Tag knows that the more effort he puts into his craft, the better he will ultimately become. “A lesson that I have learned is that nothing is given, and if you want something, you have to work for it.”

This was especially true for Tag during his junior year, when he suffered a major knee injury. An intense rehab plan was put in place, and Tag was determined to compete at the state tournament in his other favorite sport—wrestling. Through hard work and determination, Tag was able not just to compete again but at an extremely high level, eventually taking home a third-place finish at the state tournament in his weight class. He is currently well into his senior season of wrestling and has his sights set on another trip to state in hopes of becoming champion.

Of the numerous sports Tag has played over the years, football remains his favorite. “It’s the competition and getting to play with all of my friends that makes it my favorite,” he explained. His abilities and leadership qualities have led him to be named captain of both the football and wrestling teams for his senior season.

Tag is considering a major in either business or physical therapy, and the University of Idaho is one of the schools he is considering attending.

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