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It’s barely been a month since she walked with her cap and gown in Camp Hill’s graduation, but Diamond Bragg has already moved onto the next level at Wisconsin.

She’s been the center of attention and the headliner for most of her four years leading the Lions to four straight District 3 girls basketball championship appearances, but Bragg is entering a world unknown with the Badgers.

Don’t think that’s made her any less humble, however.

“We’re very busy. We’re constantly at workouts, class, so it’s just kind of constantly moving,” Bragg said in a phone call from Badger country, her bubbly, energetic personality ever-present. “Wisconsin is great so far, it’s a great atmosphere to be a part of, the energy’s great and it’s just a blessing to be a part of. I can’t really explain it — there’s lakes here, great people, it’s just something unlike anything I’ve expected.”

Bragg, her mom and sister made the trek to Wisconsin from Pennsylvania into a road trip on June 16, using Chicago for a pit stop. For some, family trips that take this long in a cramped car might be the definition of agony, but for Bragg and company, the trip was a breeze.

“It was fun,” Bragg said with a big laugh. “The car ride wasn’t as bad — we were keeping each other busy. There’s pizza in Chicago, so I can’t complain.”

Bragg will major in business and is practicing with women’s basketball team in summer workouts. Though she isn’t entirely sure where either will take her — she’s especially unsure of what side of business she’ll venture into —she’s excited for all the possibilities and opportunities Wisconsin has provided her.

While she’s adjusting to her new team meetings and practices, the coming freshman year of college will still be a journey.

“I’m trying to figure out what direction I want to go within the school, so I’m not quite sure with that yet, but I’m just going to go through it and test it out,” she said. “They have a lot of options, so they definitely give me the opportunity to explore.”

The guard excelled with Camp Hill’s basketball program and quickly made a name for herself within the public eye. She helped lead the program to three straight District 3 Class 2A championships and a fourth straight appearance, along with multiple appearances in the PIAA tournament. She averaged 22.1 points per game to go along with 8.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 4.0 steals and sits at second in school history in points with 1,775.

For that, as well as her status as a quality student and multi-sport athlete (track and field as an undergrad, but softball her senior year) and the founder of the More Than a Game All-Star Charity Game — more on that in a minute — Bragg is The Sentinel’s Female Athlete of the Year. She joins male AOTY Onasis Neely from East Pennsboro.

Bragg admitted that she began to feel the spotlight on her during her ninth-grade season. She never shied away from it, however, and embraced it as best she could. A common thread for the two Athletes of the Year is how they had expectations thrust upon them at an early age and lived up to them, thriving in that environment.

“It was humbling, but at the same time it was something that I took with seriousness in the sense that I wanted to keep expanding on my game and I wanted to not only live up to, but exceed everybody’s expectations for myself,” Bragg said. “I set my bar really high and I set my goals really high, obviously, and I kind of focused everything on the grind. Getting better and getting to where I wanted to be.”

Although Bragg was usually the centerpiece of Mark Clarke’s team these past four years, she makes it a point to never forget her teammates. She admitted that she couldn’t have done everything she did without them.

Something that also came along with that spotlight was a platform — a platform that could reach a lot of people, for better or for worse. Bragg took it as a challenge and used it to better those around her, especially kids.

Inspiring and being a role model for kids is something that is even bigger than basketball for Bragg.

That motivation to do good turned into her inaugural More Than a Game Charity All-Star Game in May. Bragg raised $50,500 through the game for the Camp Curtin YMCA.

“I think basketball can motivate and inspire a lot of kids, but if I can actually involve myself in the community and actually help touch lives, I think that’s way more important,” Bragg said. “I’m directly impacting people and that’s been my goal. I know that I had a platform with this game and I just wanted to act upon that and use that for a greater good.

“You’re starting to see a little more of that, but it’s a little more rare at the high-school age. It’s something that can be done easily.”

Bragg now gets to develop her game in an unfamiliar situation, free from the burdens of being a team’s main attraction. But that doesn’t change her end goal of wanting to change lives and do good for other people.

“As a freshman coming in to a program that is on the rise, it’s been hard, it’s been a journey,” she said. “This is all something new to us for a little bit. It’s just kind of absorbing all of this information and translating it into my game.

“It’s definitely another level. It’s something that you hear about, but never really think it’s going to happen to you until you get there. It’s a lot of new things coming at me fast, but it’s just taking that and going with it.”

Email Mallory at mmerda@cumberlink.com or follow her on Twitter @MalloryMerda

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Sports Reporter

Sports reporter at The Sentinel.