[Premium article] The story is not new. People everyday try to prove to everyone else that they can accomplish their goals. The hard-work, discipline and obstacles that these people have faced are too numerous to mention, but they always continue on their pursuit.

"I have always had people tell me that I could not make it," said MSU senior track member Camille Harper. "Yea, I have had people that believed in me, but for the most part I have had to prove myself over and over."

And prove herself she has. By finishing eighth at last season's NCAA track meet in the 100-yard dash, Harper earned all-America honors for the first time in her career. And by joining fellow Bulldog Elisha Williams, it marked the first time in MSU history two Bulldogs have been all-Americans in the same year.

"Being able to go out there last year and do that just kind of made people finally realize that I was for real," said Harper. "Now I just have to get to work to compete this year."

This will not be the first year that Harper will have to work hard. Growing up in Clinton, Mississippi, Harper did not have the opportunity to be involved in extensive training for track.

"In high schools in Mississippi you do not really have the coaching for track. My track coach was also the football coach, they just do not have the time to spend teaching you how to be a track star," said Harper.

Along with all the work on the track, Harper has also had to push herself off the track in her education.

"When I got here I was on a partial track scholarship, so I had to work hard to prove myself," said Harper. "Now I have a full scholarship, but I know that I will not always be able to run. I am working on my degree. When I get through with school here, I want to go to PT (Physical Therapy) school."

After finishing her education, Harper wants to stay involved with track as long as she can, even if she is not running.

"I do not think I will coach, but I want to be around track. I just love it," said Harper. "I want to be able to help people in the state, just like people have helped me. Maybe I can make a difference."

There have always been people there to tell her she could not compete, but there is always one person she has leaned on.

"I talk to my brother every day, he just keeps me going," said Harper of her motivation. "He has always believed in me and pushed me to keep working and trying. Everything that I have accomplished, I owe to him."

Now that Harper knows where she is going outside of track, she has set her eyes on goals for her track career.

"I know that I have to be a role model and a leader for the others out here, there is added pressure on me," said Harper. "I am going to work hard to be a leader and to make it back to the NCAA's."

Grant Alford is a free-lance correspondent for Gene's Page. He is a student at Mississippi State University and works as a sports reporter for the student newspaper, The Reflector. You can contact him by email at

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