Profile: Cammi Tirico made a name for herself at Skyline as a leader and high achiever

An eagle represents leadership and authority, and those who make this their “spirit animal” are born to be leaders and high achievers. They are visionaries who believe in the power of expanding their self-discoveries and striving to reach greater personal freedom.

Cammi Tirico was an Eagle at Skyline High School for four years. Now she is an eagle, striving to expand her self-discovery and reach greater personal freedom.

Cammi learned to fly on her own during her time at Skyline and has since left the nest, free to follow her dreams and passions and begin setting a course to a bright future. She has landed in Chicago at Northwestern University where she is in her first year studying journalism and global health.

In her four years at Skyline, Cammi collected 10 varsity letters (four each from basketball and golf and two from soccer). She also finished with a 4.0 GPA and took advantage of everything high school had to offer – she was editor of The Communicator High School news magazine, participated in Mock Trial, was a Restorative Justice Mentor and a Skyline DECA member. In the “off-season,” she was a YMCA coach and summer counselor.

And she went out swinging – earning a spot in the MHSAA Division 1 Golf State Finals as a senior after shooting an 84 at Regionals.

“That was a pretty special day – the 84 was my best of the season, best of my life, actually,” she says. “It was a day of mixed emotions because our team missed states by nine strokes but I made it as an individual.

“Going to states was incredible. All of my family and some of my friends came to see me play. I ended up playing pretty well for me, considering the hard course and stress of my last rounds ever. I went with the goal to just have fun and enjoy my last time playing competitive golf, and I did just that.”

Cammi’s golf career started rather innocently, playing with her dad and grandparents just for fun.

“My freshmen year one of my closest friends played and I decided to play too just so we could spend more time together,” she says. “I quickly fell in love with the team and Coach Ashley Mantha and the sport. Some of my favorite memories were just the fun car rides to and from matches with the girls.”

Cammi also was a four-year starter on the Skyline basketball team. The Eagles didn’t land in the win column very often but they always played hard from start to finish and represented their school with pride.

“I think I am most proud of my basketball career at Skyline,” she says. “Since freshman year, I was the main point guard and had a lot of pressure on my shoulders. We worked hard every day in every practice no matter what was happening in the games and we never gave up. I was proud of my whole team for never giving up and for my positive attitude through it all.”

Her positive attitude was certainly put to the test her final season playing basketball.

It wasn’t an easy senior year for Cammi who suffered from a serious medical condition that kept her on the sideline for most of the year. The Eagles clearly missed her running the point and her leadership skills on the court.

“I am doing much better now,” she says. “It was one of the hardest things not being out there with the team. Throughout my time recovering, one of my main goals was to be out there playing on senior night.”

She accomplished that goal and helped lead the Eagles to their first win of the season, a 48-43 victory over Ypsilanti. “That was a special night and something I am very proud of,” she says looking back.

Cammi, of course, is the daughter of famous parents.

Her father, Mike, is the face of ESPN and recognized as one of the best sports broadcasters in the world. His easy-going style is reminiscent of Dick Enberg; his energy and passion in the big moments echoes Keith Jackson; and his intelligent and thoughtful analysis is from the pages of Jack Whitaker. What’s not to like about Mike Tirico?

“At times it can be strange, but it is the only thing I have known,” says Cammi when talking about her famous father. “Having him be recognized at my games is always a little odd but people have always been nothing but nice about it.”

Cammi’s mom, Debbie, is not as well-known – except Downriver that is. When she was known as Debbie Gibaratz, Cammi’s mom was one of the best athletes in Michigan, earning All-State honors in both softball and basketball at Trenton High School.

She graduated from Syracuse in 1989 (where she met her future husband) and was a four-time letter winner in women’s basketball. She earned a Bachelor of Science magna cum laude from Syracuse’s School of Management and later earned an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

“It’s funny, most people assume my dad was the athlete in the family but they couldn’t be more wrong,” Cammi says. “My mom has been my role model since day one. She was my first coach when I played soccer in elementary school and coached my basketball team throughout elementary and middle school.

“That basketball team is where I really started to love the game. We had a great group of us which included Renee (Faulkner), Janee (Faulkner) and Alaina (Heetderks) who all played varsity with me for all four years.”

Cammi learned plenty of lessons from her mom – ones she will take with her long after she stops playing sports.

“Aside from being a great coach and teaching me great fundamental defense, and her favorite move (behind the back), she taught me to work hard,” Cammi says. “Neither of us break the 5-foot-3 barrier. She taught me that we have to be the hardest worker on the court.”

And then we have Jordan – Cammi’s older brother. He was a standout soccer player at Skyline, a natural leader on and off the pitch who was as fierce as he was skilled. He gave up the game he loved playing for another exciting chapter in his life – Stanford University.

“Jordan is great,” she says. “He loved his first year at Stanford! From him I learned that nothing is given and that it has to be earned with hard work. He worked so hard to make the varsity soccer team his freshmen year and showed me what it takes. I worked hard to follow his example in both school and in sports.”

Because of the pandemic, Cammi has spent her first year at Northwestern home in Ann Arbor taking classes online. But she is doing it as only she can – with hard work and a positive outlook.

Cammi will be remembered as an outstanding athlete and student at Skyline but what she will be remembered for the most is how she played the game. She always played hard – but with a smile.

“Yeah, I love sports,” she says. “Playing in games was my favorite thing to do in the whole world. I am also admittedly a competitive person, especially on the court but I have never seen being competitive and having fun as opposites. I enjoy every aspect of sports, from running sprints at practice to winning games!”

The Eagle has left the nest – with a smile and a dream.