Girls track and field: LA's star pulls off unlikely trifecta at state

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By Mike Cote

ALBUQUERQUE — Doubling up on a shot put and javelin state title isn’t unheard of. Neither is winning both a javelin and 100 meter dash state championship.
But Chase Ealey did something that might never have been done before and, except for a potential repeat performance in 2012, might not be done for years to come when she pulled off a win in all three events this weekend.
Ealey, the rock star of the 2011 Los Alamos Hilltopper girls track and field team rocked the Class 4A state championship meet last weekend, picking up three individual wins and helping the Hilltopper girls 400 meter relay team to a state championship.
The junior finished as the high-point athlete at the state meet May 14, scoring 25 points, more than a third of the total for the Hilltoppers, who also picked up their third straight state team title.
Becoming the 4A girls high-point athlete was what she wanted from the get-go this season.
“That’s my goal. Emi’s been taking it from me,” she said, referring to the previous season’s high-point athlete Emi Weeks, a former teammate.
Along the way last weekend, Ealey became the top shot putter in state history and helped break the 400 meter relay state record that she helped set a year ago.
May 13, the morning before “Championship Saturday,” as it’s unofficially know, Ealey picked up the 4A state shot put title that had eluded her a year earlier.
On her sixth and last throw of the 2011 shot put finals, which she won with her first throw, marked at  40 feet, 4 inches — no other thrower in the field bested 34-7 — Ealey lofted a 42-foot, 3-3/4 inch toss to eclipse the state’s mark set a year earlier by Kirtland Central’s Melanie Heslop.
Heslop upset Ealey for the girls shot put title in 2010, recording a 41-5 1/2. Ealey was far-and-away the top seed heading into last year’s meet, but didn’t break 40 feet, a mark she earned several times during the 2010 regular season.
“Last year was really disappointing for me,” Ealey said. “This year, it was really good to get that. My throws got to 40 (feet). I was more in the zone. The 39s, I wasn’t throwing that hard, but when it was coming down to the end, I went for it. I didn’t care if I scratched or not.”
Championship Saturday, while trying to make time for both the javelin and the 400 relay, which were held simultaneously, Ealey had to jog back and forth between events and squeeze in her javelin attempts.
Her first three throws were subpar, although with 113-1 in her first try, she qualified for the final round. In the first throw of the final round, she earned a 124-1, which secured her that title.
Right before she made her championship throw, Ealey picked up her third straight 100 meter title. She came back from a slow start out of the blocks, but made up her lost ground quickly and won the race going away.
Ealey said that victory got her going and gave her the momentum she needed to win the javelin. It was a big weight off her shoulders, she said, in no small part because she felt she’d underperformed in Friday’s 100 meter preliminaries.
“I came off the blocks badly,” she said of Friday’s race. “I didn’t really go as hard as I could go...I was really nervous going in.”
While Ealey’s time of 12.52 was nearly a half-second slower than her seed time going into the meet, it was still her top state championship performance.
Ealey is not the only notable athlete in her family. Older sister Taylor Ealey, another former Los Alamos standout track athlete, wrapped up her first season with the New Mexico Highlands basketball team.
During the off-season, Ealey said she’s going to focus most of her attention on volleyball instead of track, although she’s planning on making an appearance at the Great Southwest Classic next month.
Los Alamos’ head coach, Paul Anderson, said she’ll be successful in whatever sport she sets her mind to doing.
“She’s a great athlete, a great competitor,” said Anderson. “She’s got so much potential. It’ll be fun to see what she does as an athlete.”