CHICAGO — Never doubt the power of one.
For most of her first four years as Lindblom's girls track coach, Latasha McCray had just one athlete: Shamier Little. But what a performer Little was, as she earned an IHSA state finals team third-place trophy by herself in 2012 by winning three races and finishing second in another.
Little's dominance has carried over to college as she's won three consecutive NCAA 400-meter hurdles titles for Texas A&M. Little will be a favorite in next month's Olympic Trials in Oregon with a qualifying spot in Rio at stake.
As Little makes a bid for Olympic greatness, her success in high school has resonated at Lindblom, which has sent athletes to the state finals in the three years since her graduation and now has a team of 20, including sprinters, distance runners and field event participants.
"She set a high bar that we're always chasing," McCray said. "She was an amazing athlete."
A humble one, too. Little declined numerous requests to be interviewed for this story. That didn't surprise McCray, who described Little as "really humble."
"She doesn't really brag about anything," McCray said. "Most athletes are cocky, but she's not like that. She knows she's great, but she only shows it on the track."
Little is still revered at Lindblom. The school's principal, Wayne Bevis, said Little "continues to be an inspiration to our student-athletes today." Lindblom's athletic director, Christina Davis, said the school is always keeping track of Little's progress on the track.
"Her success catapulted more female athletes interested in track to come out," Davis said. "Now the girls team has two levels — both sophomore and varsity.
"Shamier is one of a kind."
McCray she this week she's booking a trip to Oregon to watch her former star compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials. If Little advances to the Olympics, McCray will be flying to Brazil as well.
"The sky is the limit for her," McCray said. "She has the heart and the fight and the drive to make it."
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