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ALBUQUERQUE — It will be a long time before Los Alamos High School will see another athlete the like of Chase Ealey. If ever.
It will certainly be a long time before the Hilltoppers will have an athlete as successful.
Ealey, a two-sport star for the Hilltoppers, put an exclamation point on a career filled with highlights last week at the Class 4A track and field championship meet. For the second straight year, Ealey won three individual state titles and had a hand in taking a pair of relay state titles.
Ealey picked up 26 points, once again becoming the top-scoring athlete in 4A, topping her total of 23.5 one year earlier.
On her way, she won the shot put and javelin for the second straight year Friday, then Saturday picked up her fourth straight 100 meter dash title.
The 100 meter championship this year was the sweetest victory for Ealey in a career where she garnered eight individual state titles and was part of six winning relay teams.
“I’m shaking, I’m so excited,” said Ealey following her fourth consecutive state 100 meter title, this one setting a new best 4A time of 12.35 seconds. “I was so scared. I wanted it, but I didn’t think I’d get the record.”
Never mind that Ealey hadn’t been defeated in the 100 meters since early in her freshman year, Ealey still got butterflies heading into the race. She didn’t get off to a great start — once Ealey reaches top speed she has little trouble making up for her starts, the weakest part of her race — but grabbed the lead about 40 meters in and cruised to a comfortable victory.
This year was a challenging one for Ealey, who had the most injury-plagued season of her career. She pulled a hamstring in preseason on top of a nagging foot injury.
Despite the challenges this year, Ealey had relatively little trouble securing a second straight season of grabbing three individual titles.
Ealey not only set the 100 meter record, besting the previous record by just .01 seconds set by KC Pritchard of Moriarty in 2002, she demolished her own 4A shot put record by nearly five feet.
Ealey’s throw in the shot put of 47 feet, 3 inches stands as the second-best throw in the history of New Mexico prep sports.
Next year, she will take her services to Oklahoma State University. Ealey will head to Stillwater this summer and start prepping for the Cowboys’ indoor season which starts in November.
Ealey was recruited by Oklahoma State for her throwing ability — she was told by the coaching staff to focus on shot put and the hammer throw, which isn’t offered at the competitive prep level in this state — but said she’s hoping to show off her sprinting ability once workouts start.
After she got a tour of Stillwater before signing with the Cowboys in early February, she said there was little about the program or the campus she wasn’t taken in with.
“It was great when I went there,” she said. “I liked the team, I liked the campus, the coaches. I just really liked it there.”
In addition to being among the most decorated track athletes in the history of the very successful Hilltopper girls program, Ealey was also the Hilltopper volleyball team’s primary weapons for the past two seasons, racking up All-State honors and being named the MVP of the District 2-4A season last fall. She also showed flashes of becoming one of the most feared frontcourt basketball players in the state as a sophomore, but elected to concentrate on volleyball and track for the remainder of her prep career.
Despite all her success, Ealey throughout her time with the Hilltoppers remained as unselfish as virtually the entire track and field roster.
To an athlete, they would rather celebrate the team’s success than reach for personal glory.
Even with a chance to become a two-time high-point athlete, the only thing on Ealey’s mind was performing well enough for the team to succeed.
“Now that I know I’m doing all these races, the high-point is the last thing I’m hoping for,” she said. “I just hope I’m great for the team.”