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If Leah Eber wanted to, she could look down her nose at a lot of her fellow competitors.
She’s got the hardware and the records to back it up: A four-time sectional champion in three different events and 10 first-team, all-conference awards in track.
But she’s not that kind of person. And it’s her attitude as well as her abilities that helped readers choose Eber as the No. 2 female athlete of the decade.
“In spite of all her accomplishments in track in high school, I never remember her being haughty or derogatory to her competition,” long-time girls track coach Bob Fahl said.
Eber is mostly remembered for her long jumping feats in high school, but she also ran sprints for the Lady Eagles. She holds school records in not only the long jump, but also the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
It was the long jump, though, that was her event. Along with her school record, she is the Northeast Hoosier Conference record holder a two-time regional champion in the long jump, and made four appearances at the state track finals where she finished second three times. Her freshman year she finished eighth. In her senior year, she qualified for three events in the state track meet, and along with her finish in the long jump, placed ninth in the 200 dash.
“She was fast, very fast,” one reader said on their ballot. Another commented that Eber “ran like the wind.”
Eber now competes at Purdue University in the long jump and as a member of the 4 X 100-meter relay team.
She also has aspirations to try for the 2012 Olympic trials in long jump, according to Fahl.
“Leah is a very gifted athlete and outstanding individual,” Fahl said. “She has given Columbia City track a lot to be proud of.”
At least one reader seems to agree saying Eber “has accomplished more success than any other athlete at CCHS.”
In one of the biggest fields of nominees, several others were mentioned by voters.
State finalist high jumper Kinsey Kauffman had consideration with what one voter put as “those long legs can really jump high – beautiful.”
Churubusco 2010 graduate Taylor Amber represented her Eagle pride being known to voters as “a scholar athlete.”
Shelbie (Schuman) Hollar, a state finalist in the 100-meter hurdles for Columbia City, was recognized by voters stating “varsity letters in four sports. Amazing,” and “State contender in hurdles. Was outstanding.”
A softball pitcher for CCHS, Heather Reid was nominated as “the best pitcher I’ve ever seen,” and a “all-star conference softball pitcher.”
CC Lady Eagle Stephanie Smith was voted on for her work both on the field and in the classroom. “Very nice young lady. Excellent athlete. Excellent student.”