Committed to the Sport
By Meredith Kay | Photography by David Teran (Rose Monday & Camryn Carreon)
We are all born with unique talents, and realizing what those are at a young age, and nurturing those gifts, can lead to a life-long passion, and often a profession, dedicated to achieving greatness. As we raise our daughters to honor their talents, we also help them to believe that anything is possible if they work hard enough. Whether artists or athletes, encouraging young ladies to pursue their passions can set them on a path for success, whichever path they choose. For three local ladies, that dedication to their athletic talent has set them each on a path to becoming the very best they can be while inspiring others and paving the way for other female athletes to pursue their dreams.
Swinging for Greatness with Grace and Class
Some women are just born to be athletes, and Camryn Carreon falls firmly into this category. As a girl, Camryn played volleyball and softball, and while she truly enjoyed both sports, it wasn’t until her father introduced her to golf that she truly fell in love with a sport. A beautiful and fashionable young lady, Camryn admits that she first became interested in playing golf with her dad because she thought the outfits were so cute, but it didn’t take long for her talent on the golf course to shine through.
Camryn attended Incarnate Word High School and was a stand-out on the golf team. In fact, she was scouted early by current UTSA Head Coach, Summer Batiste, committing to a full-ride scholarship at UTSA when she was a junior. She is about to begin her senior year studying for her B.S. in Public Health, and she is excited to explore her future as a professional and possibly as a golfer on the LPGA tour as well.
As a sophomore, Camryn led her UTSA team with a 73.95 stroke average and achieved three “Top 10” finish titles in tournament play. Her junior year brought incredible success as she became the first player in program history to qualify for post NCAA Regional play with her outstanding placement, securing a spot at the NCAA Championships in Scottsdale, Arizona in May. Camryn played well and is passionate when she speaks about what drives her to succeed and improve her game.
“I’m in love with the grind. There is always something to work on, and when you realize that the practice has paid off, and you see your improvement, the feeling is amazing.”
Camryn adheres to a strict practice schedule, and the UTSA team practices year-round at TPC San Antonio. She is on the golf course six days a week, and she has become very adept at balancing her school workload with her practice and team schedules. She says, “I’m very good at time management. The key is to stay ahead of the course work, and to work closely with my professors to make sure that I’m always on track.”
This is a young lady who knows what she wants, and you can feel her dedication and her intelligence when you are with her. Camryn credits much of her success to her parents, especially her father, who taught her to love the game and encouraged her to strive for greatness while making it fun. She claims that her strength is in her drive, but she is always aware that she has to work on each aspect of the game to become a balanced player.
When asked what advice she would give other young female golf enthusiasts, Camryn responds with a smile, “Make it fun, because golf is hard. Don’t give up, because when you find your groove, and it all starts to click, you’ll get the ‘bug’ and that will take you to the next level.”
On Track to Become a Legacy
Growing up in Southern California, Rose Monday loved to run. She grew up taking care of her five siblings, and they would often challenge her to race against the older kids in her neighborhood just to see her blow them away. When her father realized that his talented daughter had the gift of fleet feet, he set out to find a local track team where she could compete. Rose began training with the Chatsworth Chiefs, and also became the only girl to compete on the boys’ track and field team at St. Genevieve Catholic School.
When Rose became a senior and began thinking about her future after high school, she consulted with her counselor who told her that she wasn’t smart enough to go to college. This would have discouraged most young athletes, but it only spurred Rose to work harder. She set her sights on the California State University at Northridge, and with tenacity and talent, Rose received a “walk-on” track scholarship and became a collegiate All-American in 1978 and 1979. The Cal State Northridge team also went on to win nationals, becoming the number one college track team in the country with Rose competing in the 4x400M and 4x800M.
Sadly, Rose was then in a very serious car accident that sidelined her track career for the next two years, but with hard work and determination, she returned to compete as a 5th-year senior and began competing as a cross country runner as well. Following graduation, Rose began training with Skip Stolley who coached her for 13 years. “Skip was a great coach and mentor and not only trained me successfully but also encouraged me to become a coach and get involved in governance of USATF.”
For years, Rose trained and studied exercise physiology, learning how the human body responds to training techniques and how to achieve maximum physical performance. It was during this time that she was approached to coach the cross-country running team at St. Bernard High School in Los Angeles, where she was able to encourage and train young students to compete in a sport that they had never even been exposed to. Rose says, “I had no experience coaching other runners, especially those with absolutely no training or experience, but it was so rewarding to watch those young athletes grow and compete when nobody else had ever believed in them.”
Rose continued to train and went back to competing, winning three bronze medals in the World Masters competition in England in 1999 for the 400M and 800M races, and taking home the gold in the 800M and silver in the 1,500M in Brisbane in 2001.
Today, Rose lives in San Antonio with her husband, John, and they have two children, Mary Rose(29) and Jack (27). Rose is the founder and Head Coach of the Texas Elite Track Club and serves as Chair of the USATF National Women’s Track and Field Committee. She was honored to be named the Head Coach for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020 and became a part of history when Team USA brought home more medals than any other country. Rose is a two-timeOlympic Coach serving on the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Teams as an Assistant Coach. She was also the Head Coach for the men’s and women’s cross-country teams at UTSA.
Swimming Toward a Successful Future
When you first meet Carli Cronk, you are taken by her wavy ginger hair and easy smile, but it’s the intensity in her young eyes that captures your attention. Carli is a determined young lady who is set to begin her junior year at Churchill High School this August, and she is already taking the sport of swimming by storm with her accomplishments in the pool.
Carli comes from a family of competitive swimmers and has grown up competing with the Alamo Area Aquatics swim club. At Churchill High School, Carli competes on the swim team, as well as the water polo team; in middle school she played volleyball, soccer, and running track. However, as athletic, and ambitious as she is, Carli’s stand-out accomplishment is her ability to succeed in such a competitive sport as a deaf athlete. Carli was born with significant hearing loss, and while she isn’t completely deaf, she relies on hearing aids, lip-reading, and sometimes, sign language to communicate with those around her.
She doesn’t let her hearing loss slow her down, however, and says, “Even as a deaf athlete, you can do everything that anyone else can do. I would tell other athletes to chase their dreams. You are not different and you can accomplish anything.”
An outstanding student, Carli became interested in learning sign language a few years ago, when she competed in the 2019 World Deaf Swimming Championships in São Paulo, Brazil, at the age of 13, where she took home one silver and two bronze medals. She also recently set records at the World Deaflympics in Brazil, in May, when she took home 12 gold medals. The Deaflympics is an international competition, sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, that takes place every four years and allows deaf athletes to compete at an elite level.
About her experience in these international competitions, Carli says, “I didn’t grow up using sign language, and it was so interesting to be surrounded by other athletes who were using sign language to communicate. It really made me want to learn it, and Churchill High School has an amazing program.”
As a student, Carli is strongest in math and hopes to study business or engineering in college. Her family is very supportive of her desire to excel in the world of competitive swimming. Her mom, Jane, and her dad, Mark, although both busy professionals, find the time and the resources to make sure that Carli has the opportunity to compete at the highest levels internationally. Carli’s siblings were also swimmers and attended Churchill High School. Her brother, Wyatt, attends S.M.U. in Dallas, and her sister, Julia, attends Rhodes College in Memphis. Her sister, Jenna graduated from Texas A&M in 2019.
Carli is a fierce competitor and as an incoming high school junior, colleges and universities around the country have already begun to court her. Her summer was filled with virtual “meet and greets” with recruiters from all over the U.S., and she takes it all in stride with an affable modesty and quiet confidence.