HSX Atkins Track Celeste Waugh

Celeste Waugh

If NASCAR racing or walking a tight rope between the two sections at BB&T Field were high school sports, chances are you would find Celeste Waugh competing.

The professed daredevil isn’t afraid to try anything, occasionally without her parents’ blessings.

“When I was little I was a flower girl in a wedding,” she said. “I had this beautiful white dress. My mom took her eyes off me for a second, and I climbed a tree. The dress was in shreds.”

The fear of heights isn’t in her repertoire. Waugh is the first female pole vaulter in the history of the new Atkins.

“I love the rush and exhilaration of flying through the air,” she said. “It’s scary. You have to be a little crazy to do the pole vault. If you fall you’ve just got to go out there and do it again.”

Waugh’s biggest challenge in pole-vaulting comes at practice.

“We don’t have a pole vault pit at Atkins,” she said. “I have to go over to East (Forsyth) for practice. It’s actually pretty good because I get some competition.”

You’ll most likely find Waugh, a freshman, competing in a plethora of events on the Camels team. She runs the on the 4x100 and 4x200 meter relays and is the only girl on the team who runs the 100 hurdles. She also participates in the long jump and high jump.

“The high jump is definitely sandy,” she said. “You’re always pushing yourself to see how far you can jump. When I’m long-jumping my mind goes totally blank when I’m flying through the air. It’s addictive.

“The high jump involves more technique. It takes a lot of work, but I’m getting better.”

Waugh draws her inspiration from her mother, Jennifer, who is also an Atkins assistant track coach.

“She won a lot of awards when she was running in high school,” Waugh said. “She’s always telling me how much fun she had. It inspires me. She’s always been welcoming of my daredevil and rebellious streak.”

Waugh, who also played on the Camels volleyball team and ran indoor track, has two goals for the outdoor season.

“I want to make it to regionals and states in hurdles and pole-vaulting,” she said. “I qualified for the regionals in the very first meet this season. I was surprised because it was freezing and snowing. I ran an 18.6 in the hurdles. I’m only 0.4 off in qualifying for the regionals in the hurdles.”

Athletics isn’t the only thing in which Waugh participates at Atkins. She is on the Academic Team, Chess Team, Quiz Bowl Team and Women in STEAM.

“I manage it somehow,” she said. “I’m a math and science person.”

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Ken Winfrey

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