When Community senior Chelci Newton tore her right knee up in a basketball game this winter, she wondered if her goal of becoming a college track and field athlete was out of reach.

“I was worried about it,” said Newton.

But Newton’s worries are over after she signed a letter of intent with Texas State. Newton signed with the Bobcats though she missed her senior season of track and field at Community while bouncing back from knee surgery.

Newton has no problem recalling when the injury happened. That memory is still fresh in her mind.

“I jump-stopped to shoot it and my knee felt like it popped out of place,” she said.

Newton found out she’d torn her anterior cruciate ligament and partically tore her meniscus. She underwent knee surgery on Jan. 31 and was hobbling around on crutches for a month. She also had to wear a knee brace for a time.

But she started back jogging about two weeks ago and is slowly but surely building strength in her knee and leg. She’s not going to rush the recovery.

“The coaches at Texas State said don’t even try to jump until I get there,” she said.

The Bobcats, who are based in San Marcos, compete in NCAA Division I and have produced two Olympians, including 1996 Olympic champion high jumper Charles Austin and hurdler Brigette Foster.

Newton said the Bobcat coaches are recruiting her to compete in the long jump, triple jump and possibly in the javelin.

“They said they would teach me how to throw a javelin,” she said.

Newton already knows how to jump far. Her bests are 38 feet 1 inch in the triple jump and 18-3/4 in the long jump. She took third at the state meet in Austin last year in the Class 3A triple jump her 38-1 effort and was sixth in the long jump at 17-4 1/4.

She’s been a two-time district champion in both the long jump and triple jump and also finished third in the triple jump at the Great Southwest Track Meet in Albuquerque, N.M. last summer.

Newton also played volleyball for the Lady Braves and was one of their top basketball players before suffering the injury. She’s also played club soccer for FC Texas and she received an offer to play soccer at Dallas Baptist.

Community coach Dallas Bookout said Newton works harder than any athlete he’s ever coached.

“I’m just glad she’s going to get to go (to college),” he said.

Newton is hoping for better luck during college. In addition to her knee injury she also injured a hip flexor as a high school freshman and sprained an ankle during her sophomore season.

“It just makes me mad when I get hurt,” she said.

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