Written by Matt Wixon
Alvin Chikaeze has made school history at Lakeview, but a state title would be icing on the cake
GARLAND — With a qualifying mark nearly a foot better than anyone else, Alvin Chikaeze has an excellent chance to win the Class 5A triple jump Saturday at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin. But by simply competing in the UIL track and field meet, the senior will secure a No. 1 spot at Garland Lakeview Centennial.
Chikaeze (pronounced Chi-kay-zee) is believed to be the school’s first boys athlete to qualify for the state meet, Lakeview coach Terrenee Knight said. He’s also the first Lakeview competitor at the state meet since Rocky Fultz finished seventh in the 5A girls 100 meters in 1994.
“For me to do that, it’s like a big accomplishment,” Chikaeze said. “And for me to go to state and actually have a chance to win a state title feels good.”
Chikaeze was a state contender before the Region II meet April 25-26 in Waco. But the 18-year-old became the clear favorite when he soared to a mark of 49 feet, 5 inches, blowing away his personal best of 48-01/4.
“As soon as I landed, I could tell,” Chikaeze said. “I always thought it was possible. It was just a matter of me putting everything that I’ve been working on all year together.”
Chikaeze (6-2, 155) has been working on it with Knight, a Garland Naaman Forest graduate who was a long jumper at Southwestern University. Knight is the head coach of the girls track team, but her background makes her a good event coach for Chikaeze.
His talent was obvious when he won back-to-back TAPPS 1A triple jump titles as a freshman and sophomore at North Central Texas Academy in Granbury. Chikaeze didn’t even have a coach before transferring to Lakeview for his junior year.
He was just very self-motivated. He still is, really, and that helps separate him from other talented jumpers.
“It’s his work ethic and commitment to his craft,” Knight said. “That’s something you can’t teach — that drive.”
Until high school, Chikaeze’s athletic ambitions were geared toward basketball. But when he started winning in the long jump and triple jump, he decided to focus on track and field.
“I thought, ‘Maybe I could be good at this,’” he said.
Chikaeze (6-2, 155) has become good enough to earn a track scholarship at Texas State. And with the mark of 49-5, he’s become the guy to beat in the triple jump. Chikaeze likes that, he said. The added attention just makes him want to work harder this week and maximize his jumps at state.
The stadium and competition will be bigger, but the pressure won’t rattle Chikaeze. Once he gets ready to jump in Austin, he’ll fall back on his tried-and-true jumping routine.
He stares into the sky and thinks about the phases of his jump: the acceleration, hop, step, jump and landing. He visualizes success.
“I just think about what I need to do in each phase,” he said, “and how I need to do it to get what I want.”
If Chikaeze gets what he wants, his spot in Lakeview history will have a golden finish.
UIL Track and Field Meet
Austin’s Mike A. Myers Stadium
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