Following cancellation of 2020 indoor final and Achilles’ injury, Australian standout has rebounded to develop into top contender for pentathlon crown, looking to become second female athlete to secure indoor title in program history
By Mary Albl of DyeStat
The Albuquerque Convention Center in New Mexico is a setting all too familiar for Arkansas State’s Camryn Newton-Smith.
As a sophomore in March of 2020, Newton-Smith was the last qualifier in the women’s pentathlon for the NCAA Division 1 Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Newton-Smith was inside the Convention Center preparing for her first national championship experience when the call came – the meet was canceled due to the surging world-wide pandemic.
“Being there when it got canceled, it was so heartbreaking,” Newton-Smith recalled.
Three years later, in her final indoor season for the Red Wolves, Newton-Smith has qualified for the Division 1 Indoor Championships for the second time in her collegiate career.
And ironically, the journey will take her back to Albuquerque.
“We’re looking for some vindication. We’re looking for some payback,” Arkansas State multis coach Matt Vining said.
It’s been a long, but worthwhile experience for Newton-Smith to get herself back to the big stage in Albuquerque, looking to become only the second female athlete in program history to secure a Division 1 indoor title, joining Sharika Nelvis in the 60-meter hurdles in 2014, also in New Mexico.
Battling through COVID-19, an Achilles’ injury, and the highs and lows that come with moving to a new country, the senior from Greenbank, Queensland, Australia is now one of the favorites March 10 to win the women’s heptathlon crown.
Newton-Smith is ranked No. 2 with 4,356 points, right behind Notre Dame’s Jadin O’Brien at 4,377 points, two of the five athletes to surpass the 4,300-point mark this season in qualifying for the Division 1 Indoor Championships.
“I’m so excited I finally get to compete at nationals five years into things,” she said. “Obviously, I just want to compete and do well.”
Love of Track
Track and field is something Newton-Smith has grown up with. Living in Greenbank – a suburb of Queensland – she joined Little Athletics, a local track program, at age 5.
With her dad, Ralph Newton, as her coach, she developed a love for the sport – running, jumping and throwing – and began training with her older brother Kendal, who specialized in the decathlon.
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