Haddonfield’s Ashley Campo never played field hockey before trying the sport as a sophomore. By her junior year, she was a starter on a state championship team and as a senior was a named to the Field Hockey Coaches Association all-South Jersey team.
More than a few college coaches would ask coach Lindsay Kocher, “Who is that No. 24?”
During her sophomore year, she played junior varsity and some varsity on a team that would win the state title.
“We were chomping at the bit as a coaching staff to get her on the varsity field because you can’t teach speed, and her footwork is amazing,” Kocher said.
In basketball, Campo wasn’t much of a scorer, but coach Jackie Mulligan had a hard time taking her out of the game.
Seeing Campo guard the opponent’s top player, pressure full-court, hit her teammates with pin-point passes was enough to earn her extensive playing time.
“She was the glue that kept the team together,” said Mulligan, whose team was 22-6 this past season.
As well as she fared in those two spots, it was lacrosse that was No. 1 for Campo. She was a star on consecutive state championship teams her junior and senior seasons. Campo ended her career as Haddonfield’s all-time leading scorer with 351 points, 175 goals and 176 assists. As a senior, she had 62 goals and 39 assists for the Group 2 state champs.
“She wears her emotions on her sleeve,” Haddonfield lacrosse coach Jessica Blake said. “She is a very feisty, determined player.”
Whether she was a scoring star, or one who provided defense, Campo was truly a winner in whatever sport she played. Headed to Rutgers on a lacrosse scholarship, she is also The Inquirer’s South Jersey senior girl athlete of the year.
Three sports, 11 varsity letters, four state championships, it is all part of the Campo legacy.
So was her legendary work ethic.
“You never had to ask her to work hard in practice,” Blake said.
Kocher can recall, looking on in amazement after a field hockey practice, seeing that Campo still had some unfinished business in another sport.
“We would be finished practice, and she would go to the car, pull out a lacrosse stick and start taking shots,” Kocher said.
Campo, who runs like a deer, never felt compelled to rely solely on her athletic ability. That is why she was able to pick up such a difficult game as field hockey so quickly.
“I had great teammates and coaches who helped me learn the game,” she said.
Still, it was Campo who expedited the learning process.
She never looked at it as work. Campo loved competing, especially with her friends at Haddonfield. In these days of specialization, she thrived playing three sports.
“I loved playing the different sports and I never got burned out,” she said.
Campo did concentrate more on lacrosse, competing for the high-powered South Jersey Select Lacrosse Club.
Still, what made her special to her coaches and teammates is that she never let her guard down in the other sports.
She might have worked on lacrosse following field hockey practice, but that was after giving everything she had during the team workout.
“Her work ethic along with her pure athleticism is something, as coaches, you love,” Kocher said.
The secret with Campo is that she never viewed it as work. Playing sports was fun, even though there are sacrifices any elite athlete has to make to reach that level.
While Campo says it was thrilling being part of winning teams in all three sports, she simply loved the competition and bonding with her teammates.
“I am so grateful for having great coaches and teammates and having great teams and all the competition that goes with it,” she said. “I am going to miss it.”
Besides her athletic ability, her coaches and teammates are going to miss her spirit and determination as well as her willingness to do what it took to help her teams win.
Other senior girl athletes of note
Azana Baines, Gloucester Catholic: She was a two-time Player of the Year in basketball. As a senior, she averaged 18.1 points for a team that won 24 games and reached the Non-Public South B finals.
Delaney Lawler, Moorestown: In field hockey, she was a dominant midfielder who scored 22 goals with 14 assists for the Group 3 state champions. In lacrosse, she was a top defender for another team that won the Group 3 state title.
Danielle Donoghue, Ocean City: In basketball, she averaged 11.7 points for a team that won 23 games and reached the South Jersey Group 3 finals. In lacrosse, she generated 66 goals with 55 assists and won 164 face-offs for a team that went 19-3 and also reached the South Jersey Group 3 title game.
Dennisha Page, Woodrow Wilson: She won the 100-, 200- and 400-meter runs at the Group 3 state meet in track and field. At the Meet of Champions, Page won the 100 and 200. She won the 100 in 11.86 seconds after running 11.63 in the trials and won the 200 in a South Jersey-record time of 23.66 seconds.
1981: Carol Lewis, Willingboro.
1985: Sharon Ross, Washington Township.
1986: Kerri Hobbs, Lenape.
1987: Cheryl Zekas, Sterling.
1988: Lydia Donley, Moorestown.
1989: Carla Camino, Glassboro.
1990: Chris McGinley, Shawnee.
1991: Erin Garrity, Camden Catholic.
1992: Renee Wilkinson, Bishop Eustace.
1993: Lori Vile, Shawnee.
1994: Jenn Stephenson, Delsea.
1995: Amanda Young, St. James.
1996: Kelly Malinoski, West Deptford.
1997: Cheryl Kulesa, Gloucester Catholic.
1998: Megan Light, Gloucester.
1999: Erica "Boo" Schubert, Delran.
2000: Lindsey McNamara, Bishop Eustace.
2001: Erin Donohue, Haddonfield.
2002: Lori Hillman, Eastern.
2003: Rachel Dawson, Eastern.
2004: Crystal Langhorne, Willingboro.
2005: None selected.
2006: Blair Santaspirit, Moorestown.
2007: Mary Wilks, Bridgeton.
2008: None selected.
2009: Alyssa Ogle, Moorestown.
2010: Genevieve Okoro, Eastern.
2011: Lauren Gaskill, Rancocas Valley.
2012: Steph Toy, Moorestown.
2013: Madison Tiernan, Eastern.
2014: Courtney Norton, Lenape.
2015: Austyn Cuneo, Eastern.
2016: Maddie Morano, Eastern.
2017: Bridget Ruskey, Middle Twp.
2018: Jaimie McCormick, Haddonfield.
NOTE: From 1977-84, the Inquirer honored just one athlete of the year. Since 1985, there has been a boy and a girl winner of the award.