Nov. 16—Back in the 1980s, a basketball coach at a nationally prominent university bragged about how he had recruited a powerhouse team with nothing more than a tank of gas.
It appears that the Campbell University women's soccer team is trying the same strategy, having just signed their second All-State prospect from Sanford in a span of a year.
Two-time All-State forward Gillian Garrison became the newest Lady Camel on Monday, signing her national letter of intent to join Campbell's team following graduation in the spring. Garrison is a three-sport athlete at Lee County High School who will begin her senior basketball season Friday night at home against South Johnston.
Although a strong performer both on the basketball court and on the golf course for the Lady Jackets, Garrison makes her biggest impact in soccer, where she is one of the best players in the state. Among her honors on the pitch include 2022 and 2023 Sandhills Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year, the NC Soccer Coaches Association All-Region team, and for the past two seasons, a spot on the NCSCA 3A All-State team.
Through her junior year, Garrison has amassed 94 goals, 32 assists, and 220 points for Lee County. Last year, she posted 47 goals and 12 assists and was the only Sandhills player named All-State at either the 3A or 4A level.
In basketball, Garrison plays both the guard and forward positions and has been one of the top rebounders on the team in both her sophomore and junior seasons, winning the Coaches' Award both seasons and also being named Academic All-Conference all three years she's been on the team. Last year, she helped the Lady Jackets post a 14-10 record, their first winning season in women's basketball since 2016.
While doing all of this, she also stayed busy in the fall playing golf for Lee County, where she and the Lady Jackets made an appearance at the NCHSAA state championships her sophomore, junior, and senior year. She recently finished her golf career by helping the team to finish ninth overall at the 3A state golf championships.
She will attend Campbell University on an academic/athletic scholarship. Campbell recently completed its 2023 season and will lose four seniors off the team, so Garrison will find herself in a position to earn playing time quickly, just as former Grace Christian standout Zahra Fepessi did as a Lady Camel freshman this year, going from out of the rotation to a starter by season's end.
Campbell hasn't announced its 2024 schedule yet, but the Lady Camels will be entering their second season in the Coastal Athletic Association after many years in the Big South.