Brownsville St. Joseph junior thrower Maria Jose “MJ” Morales faced some adversity at the TAPPS 5A state track & field meet Friday in Waco, but it didn’t faze her.
Morales set a new personal record with a throw of 118 feet, 8 inches to clinch the state championship in the girls discus, adding another gold medal to a resume from this season that also includes a District 5 and South Regional championship.
“It’s so exciting. It’s the ultimate bragging rights. I worked really hard all year for this, and I’m really, really glad it paid off,” Morales said. “It was very rainy, unfortunately. The weather was not cooperating at all. That made me very nervous, because throwing in the rain isn’t usually as successful.
“We sped through the whole meet and then when it was time to throw, they told us that instead of getting our six throws we would only get four, and that made me nervous because my best throw historically has been my fifth throw,” she added. “But once I got in the ring my nerves settled and I PRd. All of the pressure, the whole day and whole experience, really added up. It showed that I was really meant to win this competition and that I can do it under any circumstances. Thank God it all worked out.”
Morales said her family, teammates and throwing coach Ray Cortinas played a big part in her stellar season. Morales is focused on reaching the goals she set for herself, and that drive that pushed her this year will continue to do so in her senior season.
“I’m really excited for next year, and hopefully Yale will like ‘state champion’ on my resume. My goal is to throw for Yale University, and having that in sight made everything more purposeful. There was a purpose behind each throw, each practice,” Morales said. “I will never stress enough my support system. My family was able to come up and see me today. My coach at every practice staying late and going early. My whole team succeeding next to me always makes the experience much better, so that was something that helped with my success this season.”