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Luke Campbell, Salisbury University alumnus and Olympic hurdler, returned to Nest on Monday to reflect on his college and professional awards after playing for Team Germany on the world’s most important sports stage, the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, in the summer. was started.
Jones (left) alongside Campbell (right) Monday.
Campbell, an 11-time national champion and 16-time All-American while competing for the indoor and outdoor athletics teams of SU, made his progress on hurdles while donning the maroon and gold for the most awarded Student Athletes to Become in History of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III, according to a SU news release.
The University’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and Student-Athlete Mentors hosted a Q&A forum for Campbell on his return to interact with members of the campus community in the Holloway Hall auditorium, moderated by Jim Jones, Head Coach of the men’s and women’s cross of the SU state and track and field teams.
Jones served Campbell as both coach and mentor during his championship runs, including what Jones considered to be the “greatest surprise of all time in track and field history” when Campbell won his first national outdoor title as a freshman against the only narrowly won top competition of the nation.
As with any freshman athlete, Campbell admitted it was “difficult.” [to find a balance]“Between his studies and his love of the sport, however, he relied on his coaches and teammates to create structure before he achieved success on the track.
However, the experience Campbell gained during the high hurdles national championship run that year quickly set the tone for the remainder of his college career and goals.
Campbell continued his freshman campaign with the 11th fastest 60m hurdle time in the world on his second appearance at the national track and field championship in 2014.
At this spring’s national outdoor championship, Campbell achieved a climax never before seen by a student-athlete in NCAA Division III: the threepeat.
After conquering the indoor 60 meter hurdles event, Campbell also won both the outdoor high hurdles and the 400 meter hurdles for the first sweep of all three events in a single calendar year.
Campbell takes part in the Summer Games.
Campbell garnered two more threepeats during his junior and senior seasons and anchored the nation’s top 400-meter NCAA Division III relay in his junior year.
The hurdler’s hurdle run through the NCAA Division III competition finally came to an end in 2016 after Campbell graduated from SU with a bachelor’s degree in sports science.
Campbell, who has dual citizenship of the United States and Germany, returned to the European nation after graduation after discovering more lucrative opportunities to pursue a professional career and develop a deeper connection with his original homeland.
“It was a chance to go back to where I was born, to rekindle the flame with my family and see that other side of my life that I have missed for the past 20 years [while in the U.S.]”Said Campbell.
The former seagull flew onto the world stage later in 2021 and qualified for Team Germany over the 400-meter hurdles of the summer games.
“It was something that is very rarely seen,” said Campbell. “[I got] those goosebumps when you just come into the stadium and are devoured … even without the audience. “
SU President Charles Wight praised the services of the former national champion in advancing his professional career and representing the university abroad.
“We’re very proud at Salisbury University when our alumni go out and do great things, but when they do great things on the world’s greatest stage – the Olympics – it’s very special,” said Wight. “We’re as proud of you today as we always were when you wore Salisbury on the front of your shirt.”
After Campbell had achieved his goal of reaching the semifinals of the event, he finished eleventh overall and a personal best thanks to a “combination of relaxation and adrenaline”.
Campbell was also inducted into the country’s 400 meter relay during a live competition in Tokyo, which Campbell joked about: “[he’s] always ready to host additional events at the Olympic Games. “
One of the most “surreal” aspects of Campbell’s trip was the Olympic Village, which was lined with huge cafeterias filled with world cuisine and other star athletes from around the world, including Campbell’s favorite, Dallas Mavericks and Team Slovenia point guard Luka Dončić.
For SU’s newest champions – including baseball and women’s lacrosse teams – Campbell stressed the importance of accountability and discipline in the hunt for future titles.
“I think it’s really about holding yourself accountable because in the end you won’t be able to change who you are dealing with and how you feel about you … you play against the next team or the next [competitor]”Said Campbell.
Campbell said preparation for his next goal has already begun as he wants to attend the Paris 2024 Games because “there is always something to look forward to and always a chance to set your goals higher”.
BY JAKOB TODD
Selected image courtesy of Cole Cedar.