MSSU’s Campbell named NCAA DII National Field Athlete of the Year
Campbell won titles in both the discus and shot put at the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championships this past weekend.
JOPLIN, Mo. – Missouri Southern’s Rajindra Campbell is a decorated MIAA athlete. At the 2021 NCAA Championships, Campbell added two national titles to his name and on Wednesday was named the National Field Athlete of the Year.
“It’s just mind blowing,” Campbell says. “I’ve never been this happy in my life for getting an award that I thought I wouldn’t have got in the first place.”
Campbell’s initial goal was to be honored as Central Region Athlete of the Year. He was passed up, which just pushed him to set bigger goals.
“I was honestly disappointed,” Campbell says. “Going into Nationals, I thought the only way they are going to recommend me as the National Athlete of the Year was if I won both events, so going in that was the motivation.”
He did just that. Campbell won his first national championship in the discus. Then, he threw 19.99 meters in the shot put to secure a second title.
“This season was one of the more challenging seasons I’ve had,” Campbell says. “The fact that I came out victorious and got a national recognition… going forward there will be something special.”
Campbell has been battling adversity all year long. He’s been recovering from a recent knee surgery.
“There was a lot of changes that had to be made throughout that,” Campbell says. “Coach helped to motivate me and reminded me of the champion run I had last year. He said, “Listen, you have it in you.” He believed in me, I had my family supporting me and my teammates really supported me as well.”
This recognition has given him the confidence to pursue the sport at the next level.
“The award is just like an extra push,” Campbell says. “This motivates me to take the risk of becoming a professional athlete because I know I will be successful at it.”
No dream is too big for Campbell: World Championships, Olympics or setting the world record.
“In high school you make wild goals and now it’s a possibility that I might achieve this, so that’s my motivation.”
Campbell plans to focus solely on the shot put moving forward. He hopes to represent his home country of Jamaica in the World Championships next year.
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