Hope springs eternal: Youngest Newsome is showing her talents on the West Forsyth track-and-field team

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 21, 2023

By Jay Spivey 

For the Clemmons Courier

CLEMMONS — It’s hard to follow track and field and cross-country at West Forsyth and not immediately think of the name Newsome. And as we all plan family gatherings in the next week as Christmas approaches, the Newsomes might come together for a family run.

After all, the family patriarch is Nathan Newsome, the Titans’ track and field and cross-country coach. Through the years, Nathan Newsome has coached all four of his children – daughter Mackenzie, who now lives in Charlotte; son Brock, who is a senior on the cross-country and track-and-field teams at UNC-Asheville; daughter Blair, who is a student at Wake Forest; and now, daughter Hope, who is a sophomore at West Forsyth.

In addition to Nathan Newsome and the four children, Nathan’s wife and mother of the four children, Amy, is a teacher at West Forsyth.

Even though the Newsomes are synonymous with track and field and cross-country, it took some watching of her siblings for Hope Newsome to take an interest in it. Now known for more short-distance running and the triple jump, Hope Newsome used cross-country as mainly something to stay in shape.

“I always liked short distances and running fast for little amounts of time,” she said. “(Cross-country) is definitely harder, and you put in a lot more work, but the team aspect is what I really liked about it.”

As for track-and-field, Hope Newsome feels like she can concentrate more.

“It’s definitely easier and more fun, I think,” she said. “But I’m also better at it and more experienced with it than I am cross and long distance. It’s just something I’m better at, and I think it’s definitely easier doing stuff you’re better at than something that’s really hard.”

Hope Newsome went to Meadowlark Middle School for sixth and seventh grade. Then she transferred to Lewisville Middle School and ran for a familiar face, her sister, Mackenzie, who was the track-and-field and cross-country coach there at the time.

“It was pretty good,” Hope Newsome said. “I liked my sister being my coach. It’s always nice having a relative being around.”

Eighth grade turned out to be a revelation for Hope.

“It was pretty good,” she said. “It was the first experience I’d had. I tried out in sixth and didn’t make it, so it’s just like my first year actually competing with the school and being on a team.”

But it was a chance family trip where Nathan Newsome saw talent in Hope as a track athlete that she didn’t realize.

“I’ve always suspected that she might be quick, fast, but I guess when she was, I don’t know, maybe 10 or 11, something like that, when we were at the beach, the kids like to play on the beach and run and jump in the sand,” Nathan Newsome said. “I think one of the older siblings wanted me to show them how to do the triple jump. So, I told her I would show them how to do it.”

According to her dad, Hope is very reserved, but she wanted to show off her triple-jump skills.

“She was watching the other ones do it, and I don’t even know if the first year she tried to do it,” Nathan Newsome said. “But then we did it again, I said, ‘You wanna try it?’ and she said, ‘Yeah.’

“And so, she went up and did it. I guess it’s when she had gotten to maybe more like 11 or 12. And she did it, and my heart kind of skipped a beat. I looked at my wife and I said, ‘Did you see that?'”

Nathan and Amy Newsome noticed Hope’s natural talent for the triple jump.

“I said, ‘That was pretty good.’ I said, “Do that again,'” Nathan Newsome said. “And she did it again.”

At that point, Nathan Newsome took off his dad’s hat and exchanged it with his coach’s hat.

“I’ve coached long enough, I was like, ‘Whoa, hold on a second,’ he said. “You know, I stepped it off, and she said, ‘Is that good?’ And I said, well, you would’ve gotten third at the (Central Piedmont 4-A) conference meet.”

Nathan Newsome thought back to his childhood days.

“I was a sprinter and a jumper as far as track goes,” he said. “So, I thought, the lightbulbs went off and thought, ‘Oh, well, maybe the genetic lottery came to rest on her.”

Not only is it possible that Nathan Newsome’s DNA might be showing with Hope’s triple-jump ability but it might also be showing in other ways.

“(Amy Newsome and Hope) have always been close,” Nathan Newsome said. “For whatever reason, and my wife says it’s because she (Hope) are very much alike. She says that our personalities are very much alike.

“And I said, ‘Is that why I like you so much?’ And I’m not trying to be funny. It just may be that her personality is very complementary to that personality type.”

As she entered West Forsyth, Hope Newsome competed and still competes in some other events, but she has a love for the triple jump.

“I think it comes pretty naturally to me to be able to do that,” she said. “When I was little, I definitely was a little bit more in the realm of I liked doing that. So, I kind of grew up with it, and I think I’m more experienced with it than some people my age.”

With hard work and tutelage from her dad, Hope Newsome keeps skipping up the ranks.

“I’ve definitely gotten better at it and trained harder than I did last year,” she said. “And having different people and different teammates definitely feels good. Some of the seniors left, and we’ve got new freshmen, and some of my friends are freshmen. And they’re good.”

Not only was Nathan Newsome Hope’s father and coach, but he also taught her in art. Amy Newsome is her interior design teacher.

“It was pretty good,” Hope Newsome said of having class with her dad. “We definitely talked about running a lot in that class. He’s about the same in all of them (aspects). He definitely tries his hardest to help me in everything he can, and he’s pretty good at coaching and dadding at the same time as well as he can. I definitely know that’s hard.”

It’s also an interesting dynamic for the father.

“As always, 99% of the kids have no idea that she’s my daughter,” Nathan Newsome said. “Her friends, the people that know her, if she has friends, they know that I’m Dad. But I don’t give any cues or treatment that would let people know otherwise. You know, she doesn’t want any of the extra attention about it.

“You know, I’m just that way. I’ve just been around, and I try not to draw a whole lot of attention.”

That attention might be heaping on her soon, like big portions at a Christmas dinner. Hope Newsome just recently jumped 34 feet, 10 inches, which already qualifies her for the NCHSAA Class 4-A state indoor meet in February at JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem.

“I think I was one of the higher freshmen last year in the triple just based off of the numbers and how many feet on MileSplit(.com),” Hope Newsome said. “And now, I definitely think (there are) some good freshmen and good sophomores, so there’s good competition. But I think I’m a good competitor.”

In addition, she’s also qualified for the Nike Indoor Nationals on March 8-10 in New York. According to Nathan Newsome, Hope is trying to qualify for the Nike Outdoor Nationals, which are scheduled June 12-15 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. The qualifying standard, according to him, is 35-10, so she has some work to reach that mark. But that number is certainly within reach.

“If she makes the outdoor standard, I think that would be outstanding,” Nathan Newsome said. “See, I get caught between a rock and a hard place because I’ve done this so long; I probably don’t celebrate how well she’s done enough because I don’t want it to come off like I’m that parent.

“…To qualify as a sophomore, and when I say this, I don’t mean it to sound detrimental; she is still not very strong at all.”

It all comes down to maturity and experience.

“When you watch her do her triple-jump steps, you can tell she’s not as strong as some of the other girls who are bounding each phase,” Nathan Newsome said. “Which I learned early on, Dad doesn’t make a good coach.”

Despite youth, maturity and inexperience, Hope Newsome still has almost an entire indoor track-and-field season and full outdoor track-and-field season, plus two more full years of cross-country and track and field to get even better. That speaks volumes for a top-notch athlete who speaks more with her talent than what she says.

“It definitely shows that I have tried very hard, and the work has paid off a good bit,” Hope Newsome said. “And I’m still working hard to get better, and I’m excited to see how much better I can get.”