Saxton Family A Volleyball Powerhouse

By Branden Fitzpatrick

Camille Saxton was meant to play volleyball. Saxton, a junior at Oregon State University, is the daughter of Don and Mylène Saxton, both retired volleyball players for the Canadian National team. Saxton's whole family is comprised of athletes, from her older sister, Milou, who played volleyball at Central Connecticut State for four years, to her brother Ben who played at the University of Alberta, and is currently a member of the Canadian Beach Team.

Growing up in Calgary, Alberta, Saxton learned to play volleyball from her parents. She grew up in a gym because of her parents' hectic practice schedule, but she insists that she never felt forced to play, pointing out that her younger brother, Dustin, never got into volleyball. Volleyball has been a part of Saxton's life for as long as she can remember.

"I would go in ever since I was five years old and play against kids that were older than me," she said. "I've been around [volleyball] my entire life."

With both of her parents being successful volleyball players, one would believe that there would be pressure on Saxton to live up to that success. But Saxton was never fazed by her parent's past success. In fact, it was a non-issue.

"I started off so young that I knew my parents were proud of me and what I was doing already, so I didn't feel any pressure to impress them because I was having fun playing," Saxton said.

Having siblings close in age who also played volleyball led to good-natured family competition.

"We always wanted to one-up each other," Saxton said. But while there was some family competition, Saxton's siblings were always the first in line to congratulate her after her games. That's the kind of family structure that leads to success.

Deciding to play volleyball at Oregon State was an easy decision for Saxton. Oregon State head coach Terry Liskevych happens to be close friends with Saxton's parents from his days as the head coach of the U.S. women's volleyball team.

Saxton has impressed Liskevych with how far she has come since her freshman year.

"Camille's come a long way. With her hitting, her blocking, and her serving," Liskevych said. "She's matured as a person. She works hard, weight trains. Does intervals. Sometimes she does 100 swings on a weekend."

Saxton's hard work and dedication to the program led her to start in 29 out of 32 games last year during her sophomore campaign. One of the things that Liskevych emphasizes is time management.

"We have sessions towards just managing time," he said. He said he believes these sessions go a long way in teaching his players how to become functional adults.

Being a student-athlete can be grueling, but Saxton has embraced her coach's philosophy of time management.

"Being a student-athlete is definitely draining, but to be successful you have to plan ahead," Saxton said. "Do your homework before your trips. Make sure to balance out your social life so you're not drained all the time. "

Saxton knows she won't be playing volleyball forever, but that doesn't worry her. She is majoring in human development in family sciences, which she picked because it's ideal for her "people person" personality. When her volleyball playing days do come to an end, she hopes to become either an advisor to high school students, or work with a university and help student-athletes manage their time between sports and school.

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