With another high school athletic season in the books, The Post recently spoke with three prominent Montgomery County athletes who graduated this spring about how participating in sports affected their lives over the past few years.

Each of the three athletes -- Springbrook girls' gymnast Decelia Willacy, Whitman football player Tyler Lazear and Springbrook boys' basketball player Folarin Campbell -- excelled in their respective sports yet hold differing views on the role athletics have played in their lives.

All were asked the same questions, with a few additional questions tailored to their individual experiences.

The following are selected responses.

Decelia Willacy

Springbrook's Decelia Willacy again was Maryland's most dominant high school gymnast, winning Montgomery County and Maryland all-around titles for the third straight season in May. She also led Springbrook to state titles in 2002 and 2003. This fall, Willacy will attend Towson University on a gymnastics scholarship.

As told to Dave Yanovitz.

Q: How are standout athletes like you treated by your peers and others?

A: A lot of people tend to exaggerate my level of skills. They always think that I'm going to go to the Olympics, and they have little nicknames for me, like, 'Oh, look at Decelia the Great.' I mean, they just kid around and say that I'm going to be famous, and they'll ask me for my autograph, stuff like that.

Who has been the biggest influence in your gymnastics career?

My mother, just because she's the one who put me in gymnastics and she's the one always taking me to practice. If I didn't want to go, she would be like, 'You need to go to get your skills better.' She helped me through the college process, to talk to schools. Sometimes she would come on my [college] visits with me, and she would always travel with me to my gymnastics meets, even if they were out of state.

Why do you think Americans only embrace gymnastics once every four years -- at the Olympics?

I think it's just because nobody really knows about gymnastics. It's a sport that a lot of people do, but it doesn't get recognized. When the Olympics come, people are like, 'Oh, gymnastics.' [Other than the Olympics] they don't really show it on TV. I guess there's other sports that bring in more money for being seen on TV.

Did you miss out on anything because of the demands on your time due to gymnastics?

I think I did. I missed out on some of the other after-school activities. Everybody wanted me to do cheerleading or pompoms, but I really couldn't because I would always have to be at the gym. I could have ran track, but their season was during my competitive season at the gym, so it really didn't balance out, so I really couldn't do that. But dances and stuff I'd be able to go, I'd take a day off from gym [workouts] here and there, and it would all work out.

What was your most disappointing moment in gymnastics?

A long time ago when I was in Level 5. When I first started my form wasn't like how it is now. I was sloppy. I was talented and could do lots of skills, but I didn't score high. It was at my Level 5 state meet, and I tried hard, did my best and everyone said, 'Oh Decelia, you did good.' And I got second-place all-around. And one of the coaches of the girl who got first [place] said to me, 'See, I told you wouldn't get first.' That made me sad . . . and my mother got upset [too].

What is your fondest memory of high school competition?

My junior year when we won states for the second time in a row. [Teammate Erin Ostrove], she did really well, and she got second in states [individually].

It was me and her on the podium, and everybody was cheering for us. And then we got a second banner at Springbrook and everybody was excited because those were the first times Springbrook had won states in a long time.

Tyler Lazear

In his third year as starting quarterback at Whitman, Lazear guided the Vikings to their best season in school history. Whitman finished the regular season 10-0 before losing a first-round playoff game to Gaithersburg, 12-6. Lazear, who threw 17 touchdown passes and had eight interceptions as a safety on defense, plans to play football at the U.S. Military Academy this fall. He leaves for Army boot camp Sunday.

As told to Josh Leventhal.

Did you feel increasing pressure to accomplish more things as your high school career progressed?

Most of my pressure was senior year. Sophomore year was more like I could make mistakes because I was just thrown in there [for injured starter Erik Paisley]. I kind of had a buffer. My junior year I felt like I didn't have that great a season because I didn't play that well. And so my senior year I felt like the pressure was on me for the school and team and everything. Most of my pressure was definitely senior year, but I felt like I did everything I was supposed to do.

How are standout athletes like you treated by your peers and others?

[I felt that teachers] treated me with more respect usually than other students. But the students at Whitman more tease you about it, not really what you would expect at a school like Damascus or one of the schools out there [in upper Montgomery County]. At Whitman, you get teased, and they say things like, 'Hey quarterback.' Not necessarily teased, but more like they are playing around with you. They respect you a little more 'cause you're a standout athlete, but they kind of use it against you sometimes, too.

How did the prospect of earning a college scholarship impact your play on the field?

I think it added pressure. But it was something that I really wanted to do. I really wanted to [play] Division One. All the other divisions, two and three, I really didn't want to do. If I was going to play football in college, I wanted it to be the best division. Most athletes are probably like that, and I really had my mind set on it, so it probably did add a little more pressure. But I really didn't think about it during the season. I really, really tried to focus on high school.

Did you miss out on anything because of the demands on your time due to high school athletics?

I didn't miss out on anything, more like I gained things because I was with my friends all the time, and everybody is playing football now [at Whitman] because the team is really good. Football is the most fun I had all school year.

How do you feel about the role athletics have played in your life?

Athletics have been almost my whole life since I was little. It has helped me become, maybe not more responsible, but it has given me a better look on things. In sports, you just have to try hard to do well. That's kind of how I look at sports. Practice makes perfect. That's with everything in life. Sports has helped me with that and helped me achieve my goals.

What is your fondest memory of high school competition?

My sophomore year, my first play as quarterback when I threw a 99-yard touchdown pass. I just thought after that I was on top of the world. Even though we lost, I was still so happy about that play. . . . I fumbled the snap once or twice, I picked it up, rolled out and the receiver just ran past the defender . . . and I just lofted it over his head. And then he went all the way [for a touchdown].

What is your most disappointing memory of high school competition?

Definitely the last playoff game. The fact that we traveled so far. We went 10-0. We beat Gaithersburg when we first played them pretty bad. Even though they stepped it up in the playoffs and were a hell of a team, there were so many things that didn't happen or that we should've done better that we could have won the game easily.

Folarin Campbell

After transferring from Fairmont Heights after his freshman year, Folarin Campbell started for three years on the Springbrook boys' basketball team. He was a two-time All-Met selection, and last year he averaged 28.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.5 steals per game.

The George Mason-bound guard guided the Blue Devils to a 58-18 record over three seasons and a Maryland 4A West Region championship last season. He consistently came through in the clutch, most notably in last year's Maryland 4A title game against Northwestern. After injuring his ankle and missing most of the first half, Campbell reentered the game after halftime and scored 18 of his 25 points.

Northwestern went on to win on a buzzer-beating shot.

As told to Jake Schaller.

Did teachers treat you differently because you were a well-known athlete?

No, I wasn't treated differently. I did the same work, teachers still yelled at me, I got detention a couple of times. I was treated the same.

Did participating in high school athletics make your life better or worse?

It made my life better because I had things to occupy my time. I wasn't just at home, sitting around doing nothing. I was at basketball practice or a game. So it kept me occupied.

Do you think you were treated fairly by the media, and was extra pressure placed on you because of media coverage?

At some times yes, at other times no. I didn't really care about the press. Of course, when you're going against another top player the media is going to say something, so I thought it was up to me to do something and step up. Sometimes you're just out there having fun, but at other times, you don't want anything bad said about you so you have to go out there and do something.

Did you ever think about not playing in college?

No, I always wanted to play in college. To be honest -- George Mason might get mad when I say this -- but when I was young, I always wanted to play at Georgetown. That's just how it was. But I've always wanted to play college basketball.

What is your fondest memory of high school competition?

The state championship. I played, got hurt, came back and then did the unexpected. We came back, and we had a chance to win. So that was my fondest memory.

What was your most disappointing moment in sports?

[Laughs] Us losing. Us losing that [state championship] game on that buzzer-beater.

How did your parents handle your success?

They're excited. They know I'm going to college for free. They talk about me all the time. They're just blessed.

Do you ever think beyond college and possibly playing professionally?

It depends how I do in college. Right now I can't say what's going to happen. But, depending if I do well in college and exceed expectations, hopefully there's something in the future. But right now I've just got college ahead of me.

Above, from left, Springbrook gymnast Decelia Willacy, Whitman quarterback Tyler Lazear and Springbrook basketball player Folarin Campbell reflect on the role sports played in their lives. Below, the three athletes are shown in action.