If you had told Camden Fritz a year ago that he would be signing a scholarship for track and field at Carson-Newman on Wednesday, chances are he probably wouldn’t have believed you.
Fritz, a four-year basketball player at Jefferson County, had never participated on the track and field team during his high school tenure before his senior year. From the urging of coach Bill Delozier for months, Fritz finally came out one practice.
However, COVID-19 intervened.
After just a couple of practices, the track and field season was cancelled, ending any chance of Fritz getting the attention of colleges with his jumping ability. Or so he thought.
After getting offers from Tennessee Wesleyan and Milligan as well as Carson-Newman, Fritz decided on being an Eagle, signing with Carson-Newman Wednesday.
“It’s honestly crazy,” Fritz said. “I am really excited. If not for Coach D (Delozier), I probably wouldn’t have come out. But he kept on me about it and so I finally gave in. If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be here.”
Having little tape with only three days of practice under his belt, Fritz said that the recruitment process felt a little different and was built on trust more than anything.
“It was a weird time but also kind of normal,” Fritz said. “They did things they would do with normal athletes but with me not having any film, it was just all off of trust and faith on how much they could offer me.”
Fritz said that the close proximity to home played a big part in his decision to go to Carson-Newman over the other schools that offered him.
“It played a big part because I still wanted to be able to come home and see my family,” Fritz said. “If I was a couple hours away, I don’t know how that would play into it.”
Fritz will be coached by a familiar face to Jefferson County residents at Carson-Newman in Tyler Stepp. Stepp was a Patriot from 2006-2009, winning 12 IMAC Championships, was an eight-time All-Region selection and a six-time All-State qualifier.
“I am excited to be coached by him,” Fritz said. “I’ve heard that he is the best, so I am very excited.”
Fritz will now play the waiting game as he enters his freshman year at Carson-Newman and the status of 2020-2021 college athletics still up in the air. For Fritz, he has the benefit of participating in a winter and spring sport, giving more time for a decision to be made on whether they will take place or not.