DELEWARE, Ohio — Carleton College (Minn.) sophomore Amelia Campbell (Sturgeon Bay, Wis.) followed up her indoor pentathlon national title with a come-from-behind victory in the heptathlon at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships. She finished with 5,221 points, ranking her third all-time in Division III history (SEE CHART BELOW).
Campbell entered the national meet as the top seed in the seven-event heptathlon, but she needed new personal bests on the final two events—the javelin throw and 800-meter run—as she erased a 20-point deficit and secured the victory, making her the fifth woman in NCAA history to win a national title in both the pentathlon and heptathlon in the same year and only the second to do so a the Division III level (FULL CHART BELOW).
This year’s event featured an extremely competitive field. Each of the top four finishers at this year’s NCAA Championship posted career-best point totals that rank them among the top 10 all-time in Division III history. Jessika Smith of University of Wisconsin-Stout was the runner up with 5,170 points. Defending champion Elizabeth Krug of Hendrix College was third after totaling 5,074 points, and Allie Boudreau of Illinois Wesleyan finished fourth at 5,033 points.
Smith’s 20-point lead heading into the 800-meter run equated to about a two-second buffer. She posted a career-best time of her own, but Campbell’s personal record 800-meter time (2:15.38) was still more than five seconds better than Smith’s, completing the comeback for Campbell.
AMELIA CAMPBELL’S EVENT-BY-EVENT RESULTS
100-meter hurdles — 14.45
High Jump — 1.66 meters (5 feet, 5.25 inches)… new outdoor personal best
Shot Put — 11.43 meters (37 fee, 6 inches)… new outdoor personal best
200-meter dash — 25.30… new personal best
Long Jump — 5.13 meters (16 feet, 10 inches)
Javelin Throw — 33.07 meters (108 feet, 6 inches)… new personal best
800-meter run — 2:15.38… new personal best
TOP-10 HEPTATHLON PERFORMERS IN NCAA DIVISION III HISTORY
5467 — Kim Oden (Nebraska Wesleyan) at 1992 Lincoln Track Club Multi
5244 — Ashley Huston (Hardin-Simmons) at 2009 NCAA Championships
5221 — Amelia Campbell (Carleton) at 2014 NCAA Championships
5189 — Christina Acquaviva (Cortland State) at 2007 NCAA Championships
5170 — Jessika Smith (UW-Stout) at 2014 NCAA Championships
5142 — Amy Reed (Messiah) at 2007 NCAA Championships
5074 — Elizabeth Krug (Hendrix) at 2014 NCAA Championships
5061 — Janey Helland (Gustavus Adolphus) at 2011 NCAA Championships
5033 — Allie Boudreau (Illinois Wesleyan) at 2014 NCAA Championships
5015 — Emma Dewart (Ithaca) at 2011 NCAA Championships
WINNERS OF NCAA PENTATHLON AND HEPTATHLON IN SAME YEAR (any Division)
2006 — Jacquelyn Johnson, Arizona State (D-I)
2007 — Jacquelyn Johnson, Arizona State (D-I)
2008 — Jacquelyn Johnson, Arizona State (D-I)
2009 — Ashley Huston, Hardin-Simmons (D-III)
2010 — Brianne Theisen, Oregon (D-I)
2011 — Lindsay Lettow, Central Missouri (D-II)
2012 — Lindsay Lettow, Central Missouri (D-II)
2014 — Amelia Campbell, Carleton (D-III)
Campbell entered the NCAA Championships as the favorite. Afterall, she won the indoor pentathlon and had posted the best heptathlon score in the country—5,132 points at the MIAC Heptathlon—this year.
“I had the usual pre-heptathlon nerves,” Campbell said. “Going in, I knew I was seeded well but having those expectations made me kind of nervous.”
If she was nervous, Campbell did not show it as she opened Thursday’s portion of the competition with a first-place tie in the 100-meter hurdles as both she and Jocelyn Redlinski of North Central registered times of 14.443 seconds.
Upon moving to the high jump, Campbell cleared 1.66 meters (5 feet, 5.25 inches) for a new outdoor personal best. That result was second in the 22-person field and gave Campbell a slim five-point lead over Charity Arn of George Fox.
“High jump was another one where I was nervous,” Campbell said. “In practice I haven't been doing as well as I’d like. I started thinking about having a good plant, knee drive and focusing on jumping high.”
Campbell transitioned to the shot put and recorded a distance of 11.43 meters (37 feet, 6 inches) on her first try. That was more than 10 inches better than her previous outdoor best. Although she placed sixth in that event, Campbell still increased her lead to 79 points.
“I had done a lot of technique work on the shot put since conference. I felt good about that first throw.
“The thing about the heptathlon is that if you start thinking about point totals, then you stop focusing on technique.”
The first day concluded with a new personal record for Campbell in the 200-meter dash. She reached the line at 25.30, taking more than a tenth of a second off her previous best. Campbell’s lead in the points chase grew to 110 over Krug.
“I was excited about the 200 since my times have been coming down,” Campbell said. “I was fast out of the blocks and had an inside lane. That’s preferable for me because I like to chase people down.”
Friday’s action began with the long jump, which did not go quite according to plan. While Campbell registered a solid leap of 5.13 meters (16 feet, 10 inches) on her first attempt, it was slightly below her recent performance level. Things got more tense as the red flag indicating a foul went up on both her second and third jumps.
“That’s when I started to get nervous again because I really rely on the long jump to get me points. (Head Coach) Donna Ricks reassured me and said, ‘This is when the champion in you is going to come out.’“
“I think the biggest thing is that she had to overcome adversity,” said Ricks. “Everyone asks me what Amelia has improved the most. It’s her mental toughness.”
Campbell still held a 115-point lead heading into the final two events, but as expected that margin dwindled during the javelin, an event in which Smith held a distinct advantage.
Campbell stepped up and delivered a career-best toss of 33.07 meters (108 feet, 6 inches) on her first attempt, but Smith also registered a new personal record, measuring more than 40 meters and giving the UW-Stout senior a 20-point lead heading into the final event, the dreaded 800-meter run.
That meant that Campbell would have to beat Smith by about a two-seconds to win the heptathlon title.
“Prior to the race, Allie Boudreau of Illinois Wesleyan told me that she wanted to run a 2:13 and wanted me to push her,” said Campbell. “She told me ‘Let’s really help each other. I want you breathing down my neck the whole race.’ That’s just what I did.”
Campbell was running at exactly the pace she wanted at the race’s midpoint, but with about 200 meters left, she heard someone yell, “Jess, she’s dying. You gotta go.”
“That’s when I realized they were talking about me,” Campbell said. “I turned it on and gave it everything I could. I didn’t know where (Smith) was or how far she was behind me until I looked up and saw the final results.”
Thanks to her work with Boudreau down the final straightway, Amelia went on to post a new personal best time of 2:15.38 in the 800-meter race. “I don’t think Amelia could have run another 20 meters,” said Ricks. “It’s a good thing that she didn't have to.”
Campbell became the fifth Carleton student-athlete to win multiple individual national titles during the same academic year:
Dale Kramer — 1976 cross country & 1977 outdoor track 5000m
Dale Kramer — 1977 cross country & 1978 outdoor track 5000m
Anna Prineas — 1988 cross country & 1989 outdoor track 5000m & 10,000m
Greg Sampson — 1990 swimming 100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke
Greg Sampson — 1991 swimming 100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke
Marie Marsman — 2005 swimming 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle
Amelia Campbell — 2014 indoor track pentathlon & outdoor track heptathlon
Having been a national champion already once this year, Campbell admits that this title set in a little quicker than her pentathlon crown. She intends to bask in this one before returning to campus and the final weeks of the spring term. First, though, she will be cheering for teammates Colette Celichowski (Jr./Shorewood, Minn./Minnetonka) and Kao Sutton (Sr./Hilo, Hawaii/Kamehameha Schools Hawaii) on the final day of competition at the NCAA Championships.
Celichowski will run the finals of the 1500-meter run on Saturday, while Sutton will compete in the discus throw. Additionally, Marcus Huderle (Sr./Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie) will represent the Carleton men’s program in the finals of the 3000-meter steeplechase.