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News / Sports / Prep Sports

Tim Martinez: Faith Bergstrom of Camas makes best of college recruiting, Cal Poly choice

COVID-19 upended many athletes' ability to visit campuses

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published: September 29, 2020, 6:00pm
2 Photos
Camas senior Faith Bergstrom has made an oral commitment to continue her basketball career at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Camas senior Faith Bergstrom has made an oral commitment to continue her basketball career at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Calif. (Post-Record file photos) Photo Gallery

In a perfect world, Faith Bergstrom would have taken more time to make one of the biggest decisions of her young life.

But that doesn’t mean Camas High School senior didn’t make the right choice.

For Bergstrom, an All-Region basketball standout for the Papermakers, the college recruiting process was very different amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

It limited the number of college campuses she could visit. But luckily one school — Cal Poly — was in on Bergstrom early in the process, allowing the 6-foot-1 post to visit the campus in San Luis Obispo, Calif., last October.

“The coaching staff (at Cal Poly) was just really, really nice,” Bergstrom said. “I had lunch on campus with them. I also got to sit in on a book club they do with the team, which was really cool. My mom and I got to walk around the town, which was really nice. It’s not huge, but it’s big enough to have a lot stuff in it. And it’s a very walkable campus.”

On May 29, she finalized her decision to commit to Cal Poly.

“I think mentally I had narrowed it down to three or four schools, even if I hadn’t verbalized it myself or anybody,” Bergstrom said. “And Cal Poly was one of them. And I got a call on the day I committed from the head coach (Faith Mimnaugh). It was like in the afternoon. And we were talking and she said ‘Hey, I wanted to let you know that we have one offer left. Just giving you a heads up.’

“So when I got off that call, I had to do a lot of thinking and talking with my parents. And ultimately, I decided that was the best choice for me. They’ve got this amazing engineering program. The town is crazy nice, and the coaches are super nice as well. And that was one of the few colleges that I got to visit before COVID hit, so that was nice.”

While disappointed she couldn’t visit other schools like UC San Diego and the Colorado School of Mines — if for nothing more than to solidify in her mind that Cal Poly was the right place for her — Bergstrom did say it was a relief to bring the recruiting process to a positive conclusion.

With that decision done, Bergstrom could turn her focus to summer basketball with Upper Left Legion, a club team coached by Ashley Corral. It was a very different summer amid the pandemic.

“It was definitely interesting,” she said. “First of all, we didn’t travel … I think we were supposed to travel to Chicago and California. None of that happened because of COVID. And I don’t think we even started playing as a team until late July or early August. And in a normal year, we would have been done with the club season by August. So that was definitely something different. We basically just played a couple of scrimmages against some local teams rather than going to a real tournament.”

Now back in school, Bergstrom is adjusting to changes there, as well.

“It’s weird; I’m not going to lie,” she said. “I’ve got this desk here with all my stuff around it. It’s kind of a mess. It’s difficult at times when you get through a Zoom meeting in which a lot of the times it’s just review over videos that my teachers have posted that covered the actual material, so if you have questions or to review or double-down on anything important. And then you have another hour between (Zoom classes), and it’s hard to focus sometimes. It really is. But I’ve been getting stuff done.”

Being able to get workouts in at New Athlete and Corral’s facility, AC Performance Training, has been a big boost, Bergstrom said.

And while she hasn’t been able to interact much with her Camas High teammates, two of them — Katelynn Forner and Jalena Carlisle — are teammates of hers with Upper Left Legion, which is planning fall scrimmages that will help fill the void until the Papermakers can start their scheduled season in January.

“I’m busy with school. I’m busy with projects. I’m busy with basketball,” Bergstrom said. “So I think I’m keeping fairly well busy.”