LINCOLN, Neb. – Salisbury University sophomore Luke Campbell became the third men's track & field student-athlete in school history to win two national championships as he claimed the 60-meter hurdles title on Saturday afternoon at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Bob Devaney Sports Center by running the race in 7.75 seconds – the fastest time in Division III history.
Campbell was one of two Salisbury All-Americans competing on Saturday as junior Tyler Austin ran in the 60-meter dash final, placing seventh.
Campbell came out of the blocks well in his final, in the middle of the pack, but saw the defending national champion in the event, Worcester State University's Terrence Gibson, take a slight lead at the penultimate hurdle. But through the final hurdle and a lunge for the line, Campbell edged out the Gibson and the rest of the field.
"It was definitely nerve-wracking throughout the race. It was a sigh of relief as the wave of emotions came over me," Campbell said. "Coming through at the end and beating him – it was euphoria."
Campbell, in lane 4, had Gibson next to him in lane 5 and saw him grab the lead in the middle of the race.
"It definitely went through my mind that he had a lead, but I stayed focused and utilized what my coaches have been teaching me the whole time," Campbell said. "I focused on my form and I powered through so I could get over them faster."
A day after tying the NCAA championship record, in the preliminary round, Campbell shattered the NCAA Division III record with his 7.75-second time. The previous record had stood at 7.83 seconds since 2007.
"It definitely means a lot. It's awesome to think I have the fastest time in Division III and I can only go up from here," Campbell said. "It's a sigh of relief that I can stop looking at this person or this record and focus on getting stronger and faster in the off season."
Just midway through his second track & field year of competition, Campbell has cemented his name in the Salisbury record books. This marks the Brunswick, Md., native's fourth All-American award, tied for the second most in the history of the Salisbury men's program.
Austin, competing in his third NCAA championship event of his career, ran his second-fastest time of the season, completing the 60-meter dash in 6.86 seconds.
Austin was in lane 2, next to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's Thurgood Dennis, the fastest qualifier from the preliminary round. He said he knew being next to Dennis was an advantage and he could use him as motivation.
The field of eight runners came off the line close, but in the end Dennis would pull away for the championship, setting the NCAA Division III record with a time of 6.68 seconds.
Austin climbed from the back of the pack to earn his seventh-place finish, having entered the weekend seeded 13th in the field.
"I feel like it was a successful meet, a successful day, and a great experience," Austin said. "I came in tied for 13th and I'm leaving seventh; I made a lot of progress and I'll definitely be back to do better things."
The All-American honor is the first of Austin's career, as he and Campbell have brought the men's program's total to 31 All-Americans, with 19 coming since 2007.
"That means a lot to me," Austin said. "Coming to Salisbury I wanted to be remembered as someone who helped contribute to the program. I think that's a good place to start as far as being remembered as a track athlete. The ultimate goal before I leave is to be a national champion, so I think this is a good start."
With their finishes, the Salisbury duo scored 12 points in the championships, giving the Sea Gulls a 15th-place finish as a team.