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Campbell becomes a Bulldog

Back-to-back Southern Foothills’ championships, three all-conference nods, two team MVPs and a top-10 finish in the state.
That’s what golfer Will Campbell will take with him to Gardner-Webb University.
With Campbell’s parents, Donna and Grady, along with North Lincoln Athletic Director Mark Lackey on hand, Campbell signed a National Letter of Intent to be a Bulldog Wednesday morning.
It wasn’t like Campbell, who has earned a partial scholarship, just woke up and was a good golfer. Like any athlete, he sacrificed a lot and worked diligently on his game.
That meant, at times, “living” at Verdict Ridge Country Club.
Hitting the links five-to-six times a week, Campbell honed his swing, becoming a 1A Western Regional runner-up and finishing sixth in the state.
“Will is a very dedicated player and loves the game of golf,” his mother Donna said, adding, “He’s worked really hard to get where he is and hopefully this is only a stepping stone.”
Armstrong Atlantic State University, Appalachian State University and Southern Wesleyan all vied for his services, but in the end, Gardner-Webb won out —mainly for two reasons.
“Because they’re Division 1 and it’s fairly close to home,” Campbell said.
After being a team MVP at East Lincoln as a sophomore, Campbell departed with Mark Lackey to North Lincoln.
The coach Campbell calls ‘a big motivator’ did not recruit him to become a Knight. Instead, Campbell just wanted to join him.
“Without him in high school, I probably wouldn’t have transferred to North Lincoln,” he said.
With back-to-back Top 10 team finishes in the state, Campbell continually had to work hard.
If he didn’t, one of his teammates would’ve slipped in to his No. 1 spot.
“You definitely had to work hard to stay on top,” Campbell said.
And while Campbell may have many fond memories of his coach, Lackey is quick to return any praise.
“His work ethic was so strong. He was one of those players that didn’t peak out early,” he said. “Will always got better all four years. Will always knows what part of his game he needs to work on.”
Lackey also raved about Campbell’s practice habits.
“He doesn’t go out and just hit 100 drives. He knows how to practice and that was one of those things that got him where he is today, which is playing college golf,” he added.

Moving On
Just because Campbell’s high school career is over doesn’t mean he’s taken a break.
As recently as May, he shot a 73 in the U.S. Open Qualifier of the United States Golfing Association.
With Gardner-Webb waiting in the wings, Campbell is dreaming of even bigger things in the future — the PGA.
“It’s nice to know that after high school, your career is not over; to see that in college you can even take it to the next level,” Campbell said.
For now, the PGA will have to wait. There is the challenge of balancing academics and time out on the course.
While the classroom shouldn’t be a problem, his work ethic being so prominent, Campbell knows collegiate competition will be tougher.
“Seeing if I can compete with other Division 1 golfers, I expect it (the adjustment) to be definitely huge compared to high school,” he said
That’s come August. For now, Campbell is especially thankful for his two biggest supporters —his parents.
“Without them, I couldn’t have gotten to where I am now without their support and their backing,” he said.

Things came full circle for Campbell. After being MVP for the Mustangs, under Lackey, he repeated by becoming team MVP for the Knights—also under Lackey. Chris Dean / LTN Photo
by John Mark Brooks

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