Breathing heavily, Sierra Campisano (11) glances at the clock as it counts down the seconds to the end of the game. On defense, Campisano jumps to block the opponent’s last shot as the final buzzer sounds, signaling a Falcon win. The crowd rises to a standing ovation, congratulating the team, and among it stands Campisano’s greatest influence and strongest supporter — her mom.
“My mom played Division I basketball, so she was a huge basketball person, and she taught me how to play when I was younger,” Campisano said.
From a young age, Campisano’s dream has been to play Division I basketball in college — a dream now fulfilled with her mid-January commitment to the University of Oregon team.
“Ever since I was really little, like since kindergarten, when anyone asked what I wanted to do I said ‘I want to play Division I basketball in college,’” Campisano said. “I started getting really serious about it in 7th grade and started doing extra workouts.”
Through her participation in club basketball and in showcases, such as the Check Me Out SoCal Showcase, Campisano has been noticed and recruited by many colleges across the country.
“There are certain days [when] colleges can come see you, which start in July,” Campisano said. “You go into really big tournaments and all the coaches fly in and look for players with talent.”
Earlier this year, Campisano narrowed down the college offers she was considering to five: University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Stanford University, University of Colorado Boulder and University of Nebraska.
She ultimately decided to commit to the University of Oregon because it was a “perfect fit.”
“They just got a new coaching staff,” Campisano said. “The [basketball] program wasn’t really good in previous years but one of the best coaches in the nation moved there and I really just believe in his mission. And I went up for a visit and I just felt so comfortable there, and I just really believed that Oregon can be one of the top.”
Campisano said that being committed to college as a junior in high school is a “huge weight off her shoulders.”
“Now I can focus on high school basketball, which is my favorite, and hopefully get that CIF championship,” Campisano said.
Campisano also received a lot of attention outside of college recruiters when she was nominated as both a Player of the Week and a Player of the Month in the San Diego Union-Tribune.
“It’s just such a big honor [being nominated] because there’s not a lot of athletes that get chosen and there are a lot of athletes in San Diego and they’re all really talented,” Campisano said.
Campisano’s talent in basketball comes from her dedication to practice. Having been a part of the TPHS Varsity Basketball team since her freshman year, Campisano actively participates in school practices as well as in her own individual practices.
“We have high school practice every day except Sundays,” Campisano said. “But I go in and work out on my own with my personal trainer a lot more often than that so many days a week I’ll practice twice a day.”
According to Campisano, if the opportunity comes up, she would definitely pursue basketball after college. Regardless of whether or not that happens, Campisano wants to do something in the future that is related to what she loves — sports.
“I’m going to go for broadcasting communication [in college] — some kind of journalistic or sports related thing since I want to stay in sports — and then I’ll probably double major in that and education,” Campisano said.
Standing tall at 6 feet 3 inches, Campisano has a lot ahead of her. And though in 2016 she will be playing proudly for the Oregon Ducks, for now she stands proudly amidst the applause and cheers, hoping to continue to win games this season and next, to keep alive her hope of winning a CIF Championship.