Ellingson Exemplifies Energy, Dedication
Nov. 24, 2000
By Chris Birnbaum
UO Media Services
Forty-five thousand plus fans fill the bowl of Autzen Stadium, afrenzied crowd anxious for today's game to begin. Duck Vision flashes imagesof games' past heroics, and with each flash the crowd grows louder, aresounding boom that can be heard for miles around.
And in spite of the noise, one sound, audible among the rest, is the roar of an engine. In ridesa helmeted figure, inconspicuous save a long blond ponytail. Here is CamberEllingson, perched atop Oregon's Harley-Davidson Fat Boy motorcycle, a seatthat has been, by tradition, occupied by Gary Zimmerman. But not today. Somaybe it's not game day. Perhaps the cheering is in Ellingson's head. But sherides.
The Fat Boy scenario is one that she runs through often. 'I'm going toride that motorcycle,' said Ellingson. 'Yep, I'm going to drag it a couple oftimes up Autzen Stadium's turf. Before I leave this university, I'm going toride that bike.'
It's this determination that sets Ellingson apart, on the court and off.Teammates look to her as a constant source of support, a leader in her ownright.
'Camber provides leadership in a different way, and as a result hercontribution is often overlooked,' said teammate and fellow senior LindseyDion. 'She's such an encouraging person. You can't walk past her withoutreceiving an encouraging remark. And it's nice to have that coming off thecourt.'
Angelina Wolvert agreed. 'This team has a lot of unspoken needs, andCamber fills them all.'
To hear Ellingson tell it, she is 'an emotional leader.' But her influencestretches beyond the confines of the court, as she maintains friendships witheach of the girls on the team.
'My friends on the team mean a great deal to me,' said Ellingson.'Especially the seniors. We've gone through a lot together, and I know I'llkeep in touch with them. With all of my teammates. We've had a lot of funtogether, and we've become really good friends.'
Ellingson's recruiting class includes teammates Dion, Wolvert, BrianneMeharry and Karen Piers, a quintet that has remained nearly inseparable,despite Karen's recent departure. They have lived together (not alltogether, but some combination of the five, in two or more apartments),toiled together and played together, they are, in every sense of the word, afamily. And this family extends beyond the five to the entire team. Theircohesiveness just may be a catalyst to their success.
And Ellingson expects more of the same, as the Ducks seek to defend theirback-to-back Pac-10 titles.
'I think we have a really great chance of repeating,' she said. 'We'vegot a lot of talent, we just need to put it all together. And we can do it.A lot of us stayed this summer and worked out. We've put a lot of time andeffort into basketball. I know our hearts are there. We have to get itdone, both mentally and physically.'
Her dedication to team knows no bounds. A tireless laborer, Ellingsonspent her summer in Eugene, shooting, lifting, taking classes and working forthe Emeralds. And she runs, a habit that kept her occupied for, at theabsolute minimum, an hour a day throughout the summer.
'Oh, running,' she said. 'I did a lot of running.'
She saw more movies than she might care to talk about - she has takenadvantage of the first-show, 50-cent matinee at Gateway Mall on more than oneoccasion - but there is none she likes more than Braveheart. She is afanatic of phone conversations with her brother, Greg, sister, Kelsey, andcousin, Thomas. She loves the San Francisco 49ers ('My favorite sport isfootball') and country music ('I used to hate it'). She is entirely toomodest. And she has an absolutely infectious laugh. This interview,conducted during a recent airing of 'Billy Madison,' was anything butserious.
To know Camber is to respect her. As a teammate and in life, she is avaluable friend.
'It's the type of person Camber is that makes our team better,' saidWolvert.