HAMDEN — For years growing up, Kayla Cameron and her younger twin sisters Aliya Cameron and Meaghan Cameron competed in youth gymnastics.
They loved the sport, but Kayla Cameron wanted to do something different when she came to Sacred Heart Academy as a freshman. Because of her gymnastics training, she decided track and field was the best fit for her.
Soccer was another sport that Aliya Cameron and Meaghan Cameron competed in on the youth level. When they followed their sister to Sacred Heart Academy, they came to the school to play soccer. But they also wanted to play a sport in the winter and spring, and like Kayla, believed track and field was the way to go due to their gymnastics training.
Today, Kayla Cameron, a senior, junior Meaghan Cameron and sophomore Aliya Cameron have all had their share of success in track and field and have developed into three of the top point-producers in meets for the SHArks. Note that the twins are in different grades because Meaghan Cameron skipped first grade when she was tested and was found to be advanced academically.
“Because of their success in gymnastics, all three Cameron sisters have found success in track and field because they are not afraid of the hard work needed to improve and be successful,” Sacred heart Academy coach Pat Redding said. “Because of their gymnastics training they came in here stronger than many kids.”
Redding said it didn’t take long for the three sisters to find there niche in track and field.
“When they first came to the team they tried every event,” Redding said. “ Kayla became a jack of all trades and competed in different events,” Redding said. “But she tried pole vaulting, loved it and it has become her special event. When Meaghan came here the middle distance running events is where she was strong. She does the 400, 800 and 4×800 relay but the 400 has become her key (event). Aliya is in the same category as Kayla, a jack of all trades who is a good runner but also does well in the field events. She does the hurdles (55 hurdles indoor, 100 hurdles outdoor) and the triple jump has become her special event.”
All three sisters have had their share of success in track and field.
In the recent indoor season, at the Southern Connecticut Conference meet Kayla Cameron tied for second in the pole vault (7-0) and at the SCC West Sectional she won the pole vault (6-6). In the 2018 outdoor season, at the SCC West Sectional she was fourth in the pole vault (6-6) and fifth in the 100 hurdles (18.32).
“When my sisters came here, I had no idea they were considering track and field,” Kayla Cameron said. “It’s been unbelievable having them on the team. They came in and did well right away. Track and field was the obvious sport for us because of our gymnastics training.
“I liked the pole vault because I thought it was really cool. In gymnastics you build your upper body strength and that’s what you need with the pole vault. For pole vault and the hurdles it’s using the same techniques because you have to be flexible in gymnastics.”
In the recent indoor track season at the State Open, Aliya Cameron was sixth in the 55 hurdles (8.85) and seventh in long jump (17-05), at Class M she was second in long jump (17-0.5) and third in 55 hurdles (8.86), at the SCC meet she was fourth in the 55 hurdles (9.15) and fourth in long jump (16-3) and at the SCC Western Sectional she won the 55 hurdles (9.01) and took third in long jump (17-0.5). In the 2018 outdoor season, at Class MM she won the triple jump (36-6), at the SCC meet she was second in triple jump (34-10) and at the SCC West Sectional she won the triple jump (35-3.5).
Aliya Cameron also showcased her versatility in the recent indoor season taking second at the Purple Champions Pentathlon at the Armory in New York with 2672 points She was eighth at last year’s Nationals in the Freshman Triple Jump. She holds indoor school records in the triple jump, long jump and 55 hurdles and an outdoor school record in the triple jump.
“I started competing in the triple jump last year, and before I tried it, I didn’t think I’d be successful in that event,” Aliya said. “But the more I learned the technique the more I liked it. In gymnastics, you do a lot of leg work and the sport builds your leg strength. That leg strength is what you need to be successful in the triple jump. I was surprised at how well I did last season. It’s been a lot of fun.”
In the recent indoor track season, at Class M Meaghan Cameron was eighth in the 300 (43.91) and fifth in the 600 (1:41.88), at the SCC meet she took fourth in the 600 (1:42.14) and fifth in the 300 (43.70) and at the SCC West Sectional she was second in the 300 (43.52) and second in the 600 (1:44.68). In the 2018 outdoor season, at Class MM she was second in the 400 (59.72), at the SCC meet she was third in the 400 (58.67) and at the SCC West Sectional she was second in the 400 (1:00.59).
Meaghan Cameron holds school records in the 300, 400, 600, 4×200 relay and 4×400 relay.
“We always played soccer and track is comparable to all that running,” Meaghan Cameron said. “Soccer builds a lot of leg strength. The middle distance races (400 outdoor, 600 indoor) is where I did my best. The 400 is where I am the most comfortable and has become my main event. Competing in track has been fun, especially with all the support we get from the coaches and our mom (Annette Cameron) and our dad (Russell).”
Kayla Cameron has already committed to UConn where she will major in pre-med.
“The Cameron sisters have that kind of natural ability where they could be successful in any sport,” Redding said. “On the track, all three girls have that instinct and competitive nature to get to the finish line, all the great ones have that when they compete. Overall, we’ll have an outstanding season with some talented girls on the team. The Cameron sisters will be a big part of that success.”