Carter Helmcamp, front and center, along with her parents Nancy and Randy. The former McHi senior graduated early and is enrolled at UTRGV in Edinburg. She’ll begin practicing with the Vaqueros volleyball team immediately.  Photo by TJ Garcia
Carter Helmcamp is wise beyond her years.
She’s driven, athletic and brainy. Helmcamp has the gift of gab and is seemingly in control of every situation. A four-year varsity volleyball letter winner and all-area player, she’s an honor roll student (third in class of 488) and a student leader. 
So it makes perfect sense then.
Helmcamp, the irrepressible McHi Lady Bulldogs volleyball team captain, graduated from McHi a semester early (December) and enrolled at UTRGV. She begins classes next week just a month removed from signing a letter of intent to play for the Vaqueros receiving a full ride.
Helmcamp outisde McHi waiting by “the tree.”

Overachiever? Nah, not if you know her. She’s more determined and laser-focused. Overachiever would imply she’s batting above her average. No, Helmcamp is just beginning to learn how to hold the bat. Her potential is sky high.

Consider that the 5-foot-9 former Lady Bulldogs setter helped lead teams in her junior and senior years to a 77-9 record. She was the team general and whipped out an astonishing 1,294 assists in 2016-17 on her way to All-District and All-Area selections and a Sweet 16 appearance.
UTRGV Volleyball Coach Todd Lowery has been Helmcamp’s club team (RGV Venom) coach for several years, so it is a natural for her to step into the Vaqueros’ program. What’s more for McHi, Helmcamp is the third volleyball player to sign with a D1 school in the last two years.

Seemingly more and more athletes are enrolling in college early to get a jump on fall season by acclimating to college life before the pressure of a full season, and to take advantage of off-season training. It’s a big decision for the student-athlete and her family to make.

Here’s our quick Q&A with Helmcamp, who will be walking to her first UTRGV classes next week – with backpack and earbuds on – after she moves into her on-campus dorm room.

Q: Why did you leave high school early and enroll at UTRGV this spring?
A: I thought going early would ease the transition from high school to college level of volleyball. It would allow me to get comfortable with the program prior to the busy in-season.

Q: What did you have to do academically to make that happen?
A: I took online classes all summer long (2017) in order to be able to graduate early, and a majority of my classes for the first semester of senior year were core classes. 

Q: What’s the first day of class going to be like for you at UTRGV?
A: I don’t think the first day of class should be stressful. I’ll just focus on school that day, so I won’t be overwhelmed with volleyball, too.

Q: What do you like best about the UTRGV program?
A: The camaraderie among the coaches and players in the volleyball program has stood out to me since day one. Everyone has always been so welcoming and friendly. 

Q: You’ve known Coach Todd Lowery for some time. What makes him different?
A: Coach Todd is always so positive. Every time I’m having a rough day in gym he knows what to say to help me work through it. Also, I strongly value his coaching mindset. He stresses having a good effort and attitude in everything you do – whether you’re on the court or in the classroom.

Q: Being on campus and playing D1 volleyball, is this what you’ve dreamt about and worked so hard for?
A: I’ve known I wanted to play college volleyball since I was 13 or 14 years old, so this is truly a dream come true. It’s one of those moments where I can easily say all the sacrifices I made and all the hard work was well worth it.

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