COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – With the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Indoor Track and Field Championships taking place this week, it seems like a good time to review Amelia Campbell’s (So./Sturgeon Bay, Wis./Sturgeon Bay) list of accomplishments during the 2014 season.
Set the Carleton College record in the 55-meter hurdles? 60-meter hurdles? High jump? 4x200-meter relay? 4x400-meter relay? Check, check, check, check, and check.
Set the school record in the pentathlon? Check.
Set the conference record in the pentathlon? Check.
Set the NCAA Division III record in the pentathlon?
You can now cross that latest one off the list as the Carleton sophomore won all five events in smashing the NCAA Division III record and winning the pentathlon at the MIAC Championships. Campbell broke three school records and established five personal bests in amassing a total of 3,914 points.
“To accomplish something like this as a sophomore is totally incredible,” said Carleton head coach Donna Ricks. “I don’t want to say it was a once-in-a-lifetime event, but it’s amazing to see someone pull it all together like this. She accomplished an unbelievable feat. She put her heart and soul out there tonight.”
Thursday’s performance was just the latest in an amazing indoor season for Campbell. She has now had a part in breaking at least one school record during all seven track meets in 2014.
Campbell was the top seed in the MIAC pentathlon because she already possessed the top point total in Division III this season with her 3,671-point performance back on Jan. 31. That evening, she broke the Carleton school record by more than 300 points and the MIAC overall record previously held by Gustavus’ Janey Helland (3526 points at the 2011 NCAA Championships) by nearly 150 points.
Thursday’s showing not only put the school and conference marks further out of reach for future generations, but Campbell eclipsed the previous D-III all-time mark by nearly 200 points!
Recap continued below
NCAA Division III Pentathlon All-Time Records
3914 — Amelia Campbell (Carleton) at the 2014 MIAC Championships
3725 — Ashley Huston (Hardin-Simmons) at the 2009 NCAA Championships
3674 — Emma Dewart (Ithaca) at the 2012 NCAA Championships
3659 — Janet Williams (Springfield) in 1986
3555 — Kristen Bates (Messiah) at the 2010 NCAA Championships
Campbell opened Thursday’s pentathlon with a school-record time of 8.88 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles. That mark now ranks 10th in the nation this year.
“I was a little nervous going into the event,” Campbell said. “When I crossed the finish line and I saw the first number in my time was an ‘8,’ I was ecstatic. I was trying to break nine seconds all season, so I couldn’t be happier with my first race of the day.
“What I really like about working with Donna is that she gets just as excited as I am with the results, but doesn't get carried away. She always finds things to work on and move me forward. After the hurdles, Donna came over and said, ‘Oh my goodness Amelia that was fantastic. I don’t know how you did that because your trail leg was slow.’”
Campbell followed up her stellar hurdle showing by breaking the Carleton record in the high jump, clearing 1.68 meters to tie for 17th in the country this season.
“That was the other event that was up in the air for me,” Campbell said. “There was great competition, and the bar kept moving up. I brushed the bar a couple of times, and I thought to myself, ‘I got lucky on that one.’
“When I cleared 1.68, I knew that I surpassed my previous mark, so I could relax and have fun instead of worrying about trying to beat my scores in the other events.”
Despite her best efforts to focus on having fun, Campbell still kept bettering her results in the subsequent events.
The third event of the day was the shot put, with Campbell’s first toss sailing 11.44 meters (37 feet, 6.5 inches), establishing a new personal best by nearly 10 inches.
“I threw 11.19 the week before, and all three throws today went over 11 meters, which is great for me. I have a long way to go in that event and can get more out of it,” Campbell said.
Next up was the long jump. On her first attempt, Campbell recorded another personal-best, this one at 5.58 meters (18 feet, 3.75 inches). That distance moves her up to 10th in Division III this year.
“The long jump is another event in which I’ve been consistently getting better,” said Campbell. “The first jump didn’t feel that great, but it ended up a 5.58 so I’ll take it. Everything was so surreal today with PR after PR. It was getting to be too much to believe at that point.”
Per Ricks suggestion, Campbell passed on her third jump in order to save her legs a bit for the evening’s final event, the 800-meter run.
“No pentathlete will say that the 800 is their favorite event,” Campbell said after shaving more than four seconds off her personal best to cross the line at 2:21.61 and give her a total of 3914 points, breaking her own school record.
“I went into the 800 knowing that if I ran well I would break the D-III record. During the week, Donna helped me put together a race structure. We didn't want the possibility of breaking the record to cause me to go out too fast on the first lap. The race strategy helped with that. We decided that I should run on the heels of a strong runner from St. Ben’s and then jump past. So I ran the second and third laps with her, passed her on final lap, and took the energy from the crowd to bring it home.”
During the race, Ricks was stationed on the backstretch so she could give split times. After Campbell passed her with 100 meters left, Ricks sprinted across the infield, cheering the entire way.
“I ran down to grab Amelia as soon as she crossed the line. There were tears of joy,” Ricks said.
Campbell’s point total is not just the best in Division III history, but it is also higher than top D-II score so far this season and would rank 32nd in Division I this year.
“Amelia is so composed and such a tremendous competitor,” Ricks said. “If it goes great, she carries the momentum to the next event. If not, she wants to know what to work on the next time.
“With the multi-events we just take it one event at a time, one jump at a time, one throw at a time to keep your focus on the event you are currently competing in and not another event coming up. Amelia has a very competitive head on her, and she’s able to stay focused.”
One of Campbell’s favorite parts of the pentathlon is interacting with her competitors.
“I’ve known these girls for two years. During the pentathlon you all go through the same pain together. You go through emotional roller coaster together,” Campbell said. “I really enjoy using the energy of my competitors to push me forward. There are different people challenging you in different events.
“We laugh and joke around. If you’re not having fun, it can take a lot out of you to the point that it’s not worth doing.”
Campbell hopes to continue having fun on days two and three of the conference meet co-hosted by Saint John’s University and College of Saint Benedict. She will be joined by her teammates on Friday with field events starting at 4 p.m. and the first race beginning at 4:30 p.m. Saturday’s action begins at 12 p.m.