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Clovis senior lives up to promise

Clovis senior Shea Chase has overcome a knee injury to qualify for the Class 5A state track meet in the discus. CNJ photo by Eric Kluth.

Shea Chase will compete in the discus Saturday in the District 4-5A track meet, exactly six months since he underwent surgery to repair a knee he tore up in the waning seconds of a Clovis football game in the fall.

After extensive surgery and hours of stretching and lifting weights, Chase was cleared in March to participate in track, keeping a promise he made after he was injured and doctors told him it could take up to seven or eight months to recover.

“He told me he was going to be back by track,” Clovis boys track coach Darren Kelley said. “He’s really worked hard and done what the doctors told him.”

Chase, who finished sixth at state in the discus last season, said he was determined to finish his senior year on a high note.

“I just wanted it bad,” said Chase, who has already qualified for state with a throw of 146-0 feet. “The hardest thing was pacing myself.”

The brace on his right knee is a constant reminder of that fateful night that ended his prep football career.

After snapping the ball to the punter, Chase headed downfield as Clovis was trying to run out the final seconds of a convincing win over Roswell Goddard.

As the Goddard punt returner corralled the ball, Chase planted his right foot to make a cut like he had done thousands of times before. But this time his right knee gave way and Shea crumpled to the turf.

Dislocated knee. Torn ligaments and meniscus. Shattered dreams.

“It really didn’t hit me until we went to Albuquerque (two weeks later) and I was sitting on the sidelines. I love the game and not being out on the field killed me.”

The Wildcats are seeking their third district title in four years when the two-day meet begins today at Leon Williams Stadium.

Clovis doesn’t have the star power its had the past few years, but should have enough depth to hold off Carlsbad and Eldorado, Kelley said.

“Our goal all year has been to win the district championship,” Kelley said. “If our guys perform like they’ve performed all year, we should be fine.

“I told them it would be a shame to work hard all year and lose the district track meet at home.”

Kelley said the team has secondary goals like lowering their times in the 400- and 1,600-meter relays, which would give them better seeds at next week’s state meet.

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