College update: Point guard finds her voice

By Greg Price: CNJ sports writer

New Mexico Highlands point guard Chelo McElrath has always had a quiet, introverted demeanor.

After two years at Clarendon Junior College in Clarendon, Texas, the 2003 Clovis High graduate went to Highlands and walked on at the Division II school in Las Vegas.

It was at Highlands where McElrath said she learned to be a more vocal floor leader, rather than one who leads by example.

“I had to come out of my shell,” McElrath said. “I’ve always been really quiet, and it probably took me a couple of years to learn to tell everyone on the floor where they needed to be.”

The Cowgirls (1-18) have had a rough season under first-year coach Thomas Roberts.

“We all come from different backgrounds and learned different things,” McElrath said. “And from that you have to build chemistry.”

McElrath, who leads Highlands in assists with 2.4 per game and is third on the team in steals with 31, is disappointed her final year of college ball will be a losing one. Still, she appreciates the experience.

Roberts said McElrath has accepted the challenge of being a team leader well.

“She’s been one of the reasons why some of the coaches haven’t gone crazy,” Roberts said. “She had more pressure this year. I gave her a lot of responsibilities, and I told her I’m gong to come to her first.”

McElrath is majoring in physical therapy, and plans to attend graduate school in Texas.

“I like anatomy and enjoy (its field of study),” said McElrath, who is averaging 4.2 points a game. “I want to do something that keeps me in sports, and I hope to do therapy for a professional team.”

College update is compiled by CNJ sports writer Greg Price. He can be reached at 763-6991 or