Callie Newton-Woods played three sports at Republic. She earned all-state honors in two of them. But it’s easy for her to pick her favorite.
Callie Newton-Woods played three sports at Republic. She earned all-state honors in two of them. But it’s easy for her to pick her favorite. “It’s always been basketball,” she says. “It’s hard to get away from that.” Newton-Woods was an all-state basketball player twice, making the first team after her junior and senior seasons. But she says she wasn’t always a natural, despite being taller than most of the other players around her.
“I remember starting to play in third grade. I was pretty clumsy and still growing into myself,” she says. “I was on the ground a lot, and I’m not sure that really changed in junior high and high school. I kind of started growing into my body around middle school age or so.”
Some players get an early taste of success, and that’s what fuels their hard work to become even better. With Newton-Woods, it was the reverse.
“It was never the thought of, ‘Oh I’m pretty good at this.’ It was more ‘I like this a lot, so I’m going to keep doing this.’ It was a lot of fun to me and something I wanted to continue to do,” she says.
Newton-Woods grew up with pretty good role models on the court. Like most girls in the Ozarks in the 1990s, she was a fan of the Southwest Missouri State Lady Bears when they made their unexpected run to the Final Four in 1992. A couple of years later, she watched the Republic Lady Tigers come into their own, surpassing rival Marshfield for southwest Missouri supremacy and winning a state championship.
“I remember in elementary, watching the high school girls play––the group that was just ahead of me. The Mooneyhams and McGills, and they made it seem pretty cool,” she says. “So there was a group ahead of me that I wanted to be like, and women’s basketball in Republic has always been a big deal.”
Teammate Lindsey Mooneyham-Ellison remembers Newton-Woods as a pretty good example for others, as well.
“The thing that stands out most about growing up and playing ball with Callie was her work ethic,” Ellison says. “She pushed herself and her teammates to always be better. She had so much drive and passion for the game that it just rubbed off on you.”
Because of her size, Newton-Woods naturally gravitated to a role in the lane. With a little prodding from her father, she learned to crash the boards and dominate on the inside.
“Being six feet tall at that time, that’s kind of what you did. I remember my dad, he always wanted me to have more rebounds than points. He felt like that was more of the hard-work piece.”
Her hard work turned her into one of the best Lady Tiger rebounders of all time. She still holds the record for rebounds in a game, with 18 in 1997. Her other basketball records belong to someone very familiar––her younger sister, Amanda Newton-Plotner.
“Amanda and I always just grew up playing all the time together, so the rivialry was really on the court at home,” says Newton-Woods. That rivalry at home culminated in one season when they finally were able to join one another on the court.
“I was a senior her freshman year, and I remember that year being really fun, just having her around and her friends around,” she says. “My friends picked on her quite a bit, and she’ll tell you that I did, too.”
Although she enjoyed all three sports she played, basketball filled a niche because of its popularity in the area.
“It’s always cool to play in front of a crowd, but it seemed normal to us,” she remembers. “Going over to Drury it was the same thing. Southwest Missouri loves women’s basketball, and we’re really lucky.”
Basketball at Republic, and later as part of the brand-new Drury women’s team, gave Newton-Woods an opportunity to play in front of crowds. Volleyball allowed her to play with a different group of friends. But track and field was where she shined on her own. In 1997, she placed third at state in discus. The next year, she won discus and took third in shot put. In 1999, she was state runner-up in both.
“It was something different for me. All the sports I played were so team-oriented, so to have something where you’re on your own is just a different feel. You’re always working to beat yourself, really.”
Even when she earned all-state track and field honors as an underclassman, Newton-Woods took it in stride.
“I know this sounds silly, but it’s just one of those things like, ‘This is what you’re supposed to do.’ My dad would tell me to go compete. It’s just how it was supposed to go.”
Nearly 20 years later, Newton-Woods continues to be involved with young people, both as a coach and as a high school counselor at Springfield Central.
“I wanted to be a teacher and wanted to coach, and [I’m] a counselor now, just because I had such good experiences with people that were teaching and coaching. I wanted to be like that.”
- State Discus – 3rd
- State Discus – 1st
- State Shot Put – 3rd
- 1st Team All-State Basketball
- State Discus – 2nd
- State Shot Put – 2nd
- 1st Team All-State Basketball
- 18 Rebounds in a Game
- Shot Put – 40′
- Discus – 144′ 7″