EDITORIAL: Spring Grove girl gives fans a glimpse at potential greatness

YORK DISPATCH EDITORIAL BOARD
  • Laila Campbell is a two-sport standout for Spring Grove High School.
  • The 6-foot freshman excels in both basketball and track and field.
  • The spring, as a sprinter, she's dominated the competition at the York-Adams and District 3 meets.
  • She is the top seed in the 100 and 200 dashes at Saturday's PIAA Class 3-A meet at Shippensburg.
Spring Grove's Laila Campbell wins the 3-A girls' 200-meter dash event at 24.11 during PIAA District III Track & Field Championships in Seth Grove Stadium at Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Saturday, May 22, 2021. Dawn J. Sagert photo

York County sports fans are witnessing something truly remarkable.

We should not allow it to slip by without properly recognizing it for what it is — potential greatness in the making.

This spring, a once-in-a-generation talent has become the talk of the central Pennsylvania high school track-and-field community.

A 6-foot freshman girl from Spring Grove has emerged to break records and win championships with startling ease.

Spring Grove freshman Laila Campbell is top PIAA Class 3-A girls' seed in 100, 200 dashes

And the best is hopefully yet to come.

Her name is Laila Campbell. If you follow local sports at all, you already knew that. In the space of a few months, she’s become a York County sports phenom.

Spring Grove phenom uses rare talent, 'crazy work ethic' to produce awe-inspiring efforts

She’s become a sprinting sensation: She recently swept the 100-meter, 200-meter and 400-meter dashes at both the York-Adams League and District 3 Class 3-A track-and-field meets. In both events, she’s shattered records and established personal bests, while winning races with frightening ease.

Now, the entire state of Pennsylvania will get to see her perform at the PIAA Class 3-A Track and Field Championships on Saturday at Seth Grove Stadium at Shippensburg University.

Don’t be surprised if she doesn’t win more titles and break more records there.

Unfortunately, because of Saturday’s condensed schedule, Campbell will only compete in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes. That will give her the best chance at gold medals without risking total exhaustion.

Spring Grove freshman Laila Campbell breaks record, wins three District 3 titles

Not surprisingly, she’s the No. 1 seed in each of the dashes.

Watching Campbell run is an experience that shouldn’t be missed. Her combination of power, grace and speed typically leaves the competition in the dust almost from the start and allows her to win short races by amazingly large margins.

It also leaves those in attendance in awe.

Spring Grove's Laila Campbell, right, takes the ball to the basket while Central York's Jazmine Parker defends during girls' basketball action at Central York High School in Springettsbury Township, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. Spring Grove would win the game 52-47. Dawn J. Sagert photo

She’s also a basketball standout: And we haven’t even touched on the fact yet that Campbell also excelled on the basketball court this past winter for the Rockets’ standout girls’ basketball program, earning second-team all-state honors in Class 5-A.

Again, this is a freshman we are talking about.

Even more remarkable, Campbell seems to save her best efforts for the biggest stages. We’ve already mentioned her performances in the Y-A and District 3 track-and-field meets.

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During the basketball season, she averaged 15.9 points, 10.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game. In the postseason, however, she pumped her scoring average to more than 20 points per game. She helped Spring Grove to 21-3 record, including Y-A Division I and District 3 5-A championships. She was one of just three freshmen in Pennsylvania to earn all-state honors.

She’s the total package: There’s no doubt that Campbell is wildly talented, but she combines her natural athletic gifts with a “crazy work ethic,” according to her father and coach, Brian Campbell.

Finally, she boasts a quiet and humble demeanor that only adds to her total package.

We can only hope that we will get to witness more championship performances from Campbell in the days, weeks, months and years ahead.

In sports, however, nothing is guaranteed. Injuries or other factors can sometimes derail the most promising of careers.

That’s why we should take care to enjoy Campbell’s extraordinary performances while we can.

You never know when you will get to see her like again in these parts.