Sunday, July 1, 2018
The girls 3,200-meter run was still a relatively new race in Arkansas track and field when Melissa Campbell stepped on the Sheridan High School track to run it in 1987.
Girls were limited to running the 800 -- or 880 yards in those days as many tracks hadn't been converted to meters -- until 1980. The mile (1,600 meters) was added that year, then the 3,200 followed.
At A Glance
SPORTS Track and cross country
YEAR GRADUATED 1988
EMPLOYED BY Springdale School District
CURRENT RESIDENCE Springdale
NOTABLE Campbell owns the current Class 5A state record for the girls 3,200-meter run, although she ran it during the Class 1987 Class 3A state meet in Harrison. … Won multiple state championships in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 with the Lady Goblins. … Went to Arkansas, where she ran track and cross country from 1988-92 and helped the Razorbacks win a Southwest Conference championship and a Southeastern Conference championship. … Previously worked with abused and neglected children before taking her current job, and she is a heavy advocate for adoption.
Campbell can't recall everything she did that day, but her performance is still remembered because it currently stands as the Class 5A state record for that event. That boggles Campbell's mind today.
"I am amazed that the record does still stand to this day," Campbell said. "Our state has had many great runners come along over the years. It's certainly nice, though, to have a record still in the books after all these years."
There actually wasn't even a Class 5A in the state when Campbell -- then a junior at Harrison -- ran the 3,200 meters that day in a hand-held time of 11 minutes, 17 seconds. It happened during the Class 3A state meet in 1987, but the Arkansas Activities Association has carried Campbell's record over to Class 5A status with the addition of more classifications.
Campbell had her record run two years after her brother Mike had set the state overall boys record in the 1,600. Brian Baker of Batesville later broke that mark in 1989 with his run of 4:11.5, which currently stands as the Class 5A state record, but Eric Gross of Mountain Home now holds the overall mark with his time of 4:10.45 in 2001.
"His record still trumps mine because it was an overall state record," Melissa Campbell said. "Both of us were good runners, and we trained together. We always strived to run the best times, and our parents were our rock. They didn't let us give up."
In addition to her state record, Melissa Campbell was a multiple state champion and Meet of Champs winner in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 while at Harrison. After graduating in 1988, she went to Arkansas to run track and cross country, where she helped the Razorbacks win a Southwest Conference cross country title in 1988 and Southeastern Conference cross country championships in 1991 and 1992 despite a battle with stress fractures that caused her to redshirt some seasons.
She has worked the last 15 years as an executive secretary with the Springdale School District, but she said her heart remains with working with abused and neglected children -- something she started once she graduated from Arkansas. She previously worked 10 years with children in foster care.
She is also a big supporter of adoption. Campbell and her husband, Randy Dutton, have two adopted sons, Levi and Jacob.
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