New Mexico's Top Female T&F Athlete Of The Decade

On Tuesday, we took a look at the top male track and field athletes in New Mexico of the last decade. Today, it's time to ask the same question about the girls. Who has been the top track and field athlete in the state of the last decade?

Once again, I've narrowed my short list down to five candidates. You can decide you like one of those, or perhaps you have someone entirely different in mind. Ultimately, though, the end goal is to relive a few great track and field memories while we're waiting for the coronavirus thing to run its course.

Here are my top five selections (in no particular order):

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Aasha Marler

This one takes us back a ways. So far back, in fact, that I don't have any available photos. Marler graduated from Hope Christian in 2011. Marler was a top competitor in the explosive events, winning state titles in the 100, 200, and almost winning one in the long jump. She was at her best, however, as a triple jumper.

Marler won at least three state titles as a triple jumper and regularly flirted with the 40-foot barrier late in her high school career. Her 39-7 at the 2011 state meet remains the standard for New Mexico high school girls.

Adriana Tatum

Adriana Tatum needs no introduction to the current set of high school track and field fans in New Mexico. Tatum has made her mark well, and will continue to make more of a mark when and if the current season resumes. If it doesn't, she still has another year of high school left to boost her existing marks.

Tatum has the state's top 100 and 200 meter marks of the past decade at 11.58 and 23.83, both wind legal. She claimed the 100 and 200 titles at both of the last two state track meets. She ran 11.69 and 24.56 to win those crowns last year. 

Simply stated, she has proven to be very nearly unbeatable at the short sprint distances. Nobody has dominated the sprints over the last decade in the way Tatum has.

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Chase Ealey

Chase Ealey is remembered mainly as a shot putter, and justifiably so, but the shot put was far from the only arrow in her high school quiver. She was also a four-time state champion at 100 meters and a two-time state champion in the javelin. 

But, as we said, it was for her shot put that she is most remembered (and, incidentally, the shot put has the centerpiece of her post-high school career). Ealey's state meet marks in the shot put followed a progression of 39-8, 39-8.75, 42-3.75, and 47-3. The lattermost mark is almost four feet ahead of what anyone else in the state has accomplished in the intervening years.

Julia Foster

Like Aasha Marler, Julia Foster barely makes it into the last decade. But she did, at least with the second half of her high school career, so we'll talk about her a little here. 

Foster won New Mexico state titles in the 1600 and 3200 her sophomore, junior, and senior years (I honestly don't know what the results were from her freshman year). As a junior, she blistered the state 1600 field with a 4:58.39. She just missed breaking 11 minutes in the 3200 the same year.

As a senior, she went to Chandler Rotary and ran 4:54.61 for 1600 meters there. A couple of weeks later, she dropped a 10:19.79 for 3200 meters to finish second there. 

Nobody in New Mexico distance has come close to matching those kind of performances since then.

Haley Rizek

Back to a more recent competitor, Rizek owns the top 100 meter hurdles mark in the state from the last decade and also demonstrated some excellent ability as a heptathlete (still something of an emerging event on the New Mexico scene). 

Rizek won the 300 hurdles and javelin at the state meet her senior year. She seemed on her way to winning the 100 hurdles as well but ran into some trouble in finals and finished fourth after going 14.39 in prelims. She won state titles in both hurdle events as a junior and as a sophomore.

Rizek would finish fifth in a very competitive Great Southwest heptathlon as a senior, and 11th at Arcadia the same year.