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Rick Carey Rick Carey
Inducted: 2002 - Graduated: 1978

No matter what else Rick Carey has accomplished in the high jump—the

three state titles, the Eastern States championship, the national and

international success—his career will always be defined by one unit of

vertical measurement: seven feet, one-quarter inch.

That’s how high Carey jumped in winning the Section 9 Class B championship in the spring of 1977, his

junior year at Nanuet. No one in Rockland County has jumped as high, before or since. Like the fourminute

mile, the 7-foot high jump was as much a psychological barrier as a physical one.

"Realizing it could be done was half the battle," Rick says today. "You really couldn’t psyche anybody out

in the high jump; the bar did enough of that. It was an event where you could be friendly with everybody

you competed against. You were really competing with yourself."

Nanuet track coach Dave Hanson called Rick’s quantum leap "the greatest achievement in Section 9

track history." He equated it with a 9.4-second 100-yard dash, a 70-foot shot put or a 4:05 mile. The

Journal-News rated it the top individual accomplishment in Rockland spring sports in the 1970s, and

voted Rick the Rockland scholastic Athlete of the Decade. At the time, Rick ranked as the third-best

high jumper in New York State history; he is still ranked tied for eighth on the state all-time list.

Of course, there was much more to Rick’s track and field career than that one epochal clearance. He

captured New York State titles in the winter of 1977 and 1978 and the spring of 1978; was state runnerup

in the spring of 1977; notched the Eastern States indoor crown in the 1977 winter track season;

placed second in the USA Junior National championships in Knoxville, Tenn., in the spring, 1977; and

finished fourth in the USA-USSR Junior dual track meet in Richmond, Va., also in the spring of 1977.

Then there were the local titles: four Rockland County championships and four Section 9 Class B victories.

He also established the Rockland indoor track record in the high jump at 6-10.

At a stalk-like 6-feet-1, 135 pounds, Rick had the prototypical high-jumper’s build with long legs, good

flexibility and a fluid approach. He showed promise by jumping 6-2 as a freshman, 6-8 _ as a sophomore,

and 6-10 several times as a junior before breaching the historic 7-foot plateau. Like many high jumpers,

he did not march to the same beat as his teammates.

"I was a free spirit back then," says Rick, who is 42 and lives in Houston. "I liked the fact that it was 60

feet [approach run to the bar] and I’m done. In a way I felt guilty because it came so easy for me, and a lot

of guys did a lot more work than me. I needed some guidance and [coaches] Dave Hanson and Ed Denton

pointed me in the right direction. I zig-zagged a little bit, but I got there."

After graduating from Nanuet, Rick attended the University of Houston on a track scholarship, but a

knee injury to his takeoff (left) leg prevented him from competing. He transferred to Mount San

Antonio College, a junior college inWalnut, Calif., for his sophomore year, managing a best of 6-10.

Rick then returned to Houston for his junior year but sustained an ankle injury and essentially ended his

high-jumping career at that time.

He remained in the Houston area and became a watchmaker. After a decade in that trade, Rick switched

to clocks and for the past five years has worked for a Houston company that restores antiques clocks.

Rick has been married for 11 years to his wife, Linda. He has a stepdaughter, Lanette, 32, and a grandson,

Drew, 11 months.

Rick gets back to Rockland about once a year to visit his mother and sister. And he still has a soft spot for

Nanuet. "It’s really special to be inducted. Thinking back to the good times I had and the people I met, it

brings back a lot of good memories."