Discus throw or shot put?
Ask Carmel High School senior Langston Newton which is his best event and he nonchalantly nods his head and illustrates with his hands as if he doesn’t have the answer.
After a short pause, he replies: “Oh, it really is pretty much apples and oranges.’’ he said. “I like both events. My technique is probably better in the discus throw, but I really like both events, and I can’t say which is my best event.’’
One might think it’s the discus, where his effort of 203 feet, 8 inches ranks No. 3 nationally among high school student-athletes. In back-to-back meets at Carmel this season, Langston also set Hamilton County and IHSAA Sectional records in the discus throw.
But yet, the 2012 Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference champion has thrown the iron ball over 60 feet, too.
One thing he knows for sure is that he’d like to be named Indiana’s Mr. Track, and he wants to be a national champion. “My goal all along has been to become a national champion,’’ Langston said. “ I’ve worked hard to get where I am today, and if it doesn’t happen it won’t be because I didn’t put in the time, effort, and desire.’’
Langston finished sixth in the 14-and-under nationals competition in field events when he was in the eighth grade. As a sophomore, he qualified for the youth nationals.
In 2012, he’s won the state indoor title at the Hoosier State Relays (for large schools) in the shot put. He was No. 1 in the discus in the Prep Invitational and No. 1 in the shot in the Western Invitational. He is the Hamilton County champion in both the shot and discus, and he won the U-Kentucky Invitational as well as the Warren Central Throwers Showcase in the shot.
Langston plans to compete nationally again this summer in the 20-and-under junior nationals. He only recently turned 18, so he has three years to compete for a spot on the USA team. If he places among the top three this summer, he would automatically be on the USA national 20-and-under team.
Langston is going to the University of Kentucky on a football scholarship, but the 6-foot-5, 235-pound all-state defensive end plans to compete in track as well. Ken Browner, Carmel’s track and field coach, showed some concern when he talked about the soft-spoken, but extremely physical and aggressive standout performer playing two sports.
“Sometimes it doesn’t always work out, especially when you have track in the spring and spring football drills,’’ said Browner. “If he’s not available to give his full attention to the football program, they might put him at the bottom of the depth for spring drills and make him earn his way back.
“Obviously, that can make it more difficult to earn his spot. He’s a very good football player, and it would be a shame if that should happen. But he’s an excellent athlete, and he’ll excel in whatever he chooses to do. And as good of a football player as he is, the weight events could still prove to be his ticket.’’
Langston doesn’t see it as a conflict. “Surely the coaches will get together and make it work,’’ he said. “I want to compete in both . . . so we’ll work through it. It’s a great atmosphere at UK . . . hopefully,coaches will understand what I want to do.’’ Just another one of those apples and oranges situations, ‘eh? “Yeah, exactly,’’ Langston said with a smile. “Things have a way of working out, one way or another.’’
One thing that will work out for sure is that the three Newton brothers will be together.
Morgan, the 2008 Indiana Mr. Football, quarterbacks the Wildcats. JJ Newton, the youngest of the three, a down lineman who,like Langston,won a ring when Carmel won the Class 5A state football championship last fall, will serve as manager for the football team, and you have to believe that Langston will excel.
Langston is laid back until it’s time to jump up and do his thing. He’s always running, jumping up and down extending his legs and arms, almost like jumping jacks. He likes to stay warm and loose. But he knows how to relax, and since he’s usually one of the later competitors, he doesn’t take center stage until late in both the discus throw and shot put.
At the start of the competition, you’ll see him sitting in an old lawn chair, taking in what the other guys are doing, especially in the discus throw. “I found this old chair in the dumpster outside the school,’’ he said. “So I carry it with me in case I want to sit a spell. It’s come in pretty handy.’’
And, oh yes, the Newtons’ dad, Dr. John Newton — a former collegiate football standout at Grambling State University, a former high school football coach at Broad Ripple, and now an assistant principal for Carmel High School — won’t be on the road as much or have to keep contacting his boys on his cell, where he’s got ‘em on speed dial . . . especially Morgan, since he’s so far away. “Dad travels to as many of Newton’s (Morgan’s? does the author have the boys mixed up?) games as possible. I mean, he’s driven so many miles,’’ said Langston. “Dad is our rock, our everything. Our taxi driver, our . . . well, you name it, and he’s our inspiration. And he was a motivational speaker for our football team. He’s just so very involved in everything we do. And now, he’ll be able to see us all together on the same campus. That will be cool. We’re all very excited about the University of Kentucky.’’
When Langston talks about his family, and how close-knit they are, you can see it in his eyes. “We do a lot of things together. When Langston (Morgan? does the author have the boys mixed up?)comes home in the summer, we do a lot of things for the community. He gives away (signed) Kentucky souvenirs and other memorabilia, etc. We do things for the less fortunate, to help the needy; we go to half-way homes. “Dad is always the first one to make sure that JJ and I know the importance of what we’re doing, and going with Morgan to help people, and just to let them know we’re there for them . . . and that we care.’’
Langston said he and his brothers are part of a focus group at Carmel. They do things to help build up the high school to middle school students and promote the community by going out and talking to the youth. “That’s one thing dad has always stressed, that we give back to our community and help others,’’ Langston said, proudly. “This is important to us. Not everyone knows some of what we do, but it’s important to all of us, and I think it’s important that others know what our family is all about.’’
Yeah, all about a true Family Affair!