Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

SPORTS: Port Angeles state-class athlete is Big in performance

PORT ANGELES — He’s not the runt of the pack, but he’s no Arnold Schwarzenegger, either.

At 5-foot-8 and a mere 135 pounds, Cameron Braithwaite usually is physically overshadowed on the field.

But beware to anyone who might underestimate the Port Angeles athlete’s ability.

He plays much bigger than he looks.

“I have to work a little harder to keep up with people,” Braithwaite said. “I have to fool someone [to make plays in football].”

Braithwaite, the top wide receiver for the Roughrider football team last fall, was a state-class track and field athlete this spring, placing in the top five in three events, including a 2A championship in long jump.

He also was a standout basketball player in winter.

He went into the 2A state track meet with the goal to place in every event he was in at his final high school competition.

Top 5 in three events

Braithwaite, who just graduated from Port Angeles, did just that as he added a fourth place in triple jump (43 feet, ½ inch), and fifth in javelin (173-11) to go along with first in long jump (22-05.50).

That was the top performance in state track from anyone on the North Olympic Peninsula as Braithwaite was selected as the 2012 All-Peninsula boys track and field MVP.

The year before he claimed eighth in javelin.

The improvement in all his events came from a lot of hard work.

“I went to my first track camp this past summer,” he said.

He improved by more than 3 feet in triple jump and almost 2 feet in long jump this year.

Making jump to college

Braithwaite is moving on to play football as a wide receiver and compete in track at Division III University of Puget Sound in Tacoma starting this fall.

He will be missed at Port Angeles, athletic director and longtime assistant track coach Dwayne Johnson said.

“Cameron is one of the most coachable athletes who has come through the program,” he said.

It was not uncommon to see Braithwaite playing much bigger than his physical size in the field or on the basketball court.

Johnson recalled that Braithwaite surprised him the most during a winter basketball game.

“Cameron was tipping the ball in the basket, and he was higher than a player who was 6-3 or 6-4.”

Not one to back down from any one, Braithwaite has nine varsity letters in four sports.

He has four letters in track, two each in football and basketball, and one in cross country before he switched to football in fall.

Braithwaite has performed at the state level in track the last three years.

Also, Braithwaite has finished first or second in his major events in all invitational and dual meets the Roughriders have competed in this year, Johnson noted.

The Port Angeles athlete won’t be backing down at the college level, either, as he plans to compete in the decathlon event in track.

Decathlon is a grueling two-day event that normally pits each school’s top track athlete against each other.

It is composed of 10 individual events, including the 100 meters, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400, 110 hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500.

Braithwaite not only likes to push himself to his limits physically, but he also likes to push himself mentally.

He is taking his perfect 4.0 grade-point average to Puget Sound to major in bioengineering.

Braithwaite already has plans to transfer to a graduate school later to pursue a master’s degree.

Despite his small size, no one should take him lightly on the field or in the classroom.

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