Throwers in the Valley have a long history of success. From Rio Grande City’s Stephen Saenz’s winning back-to-back Class 5A shot put titles in 2008 and 2009 to Port Isabel’s Daniela Murchison’s three-peat in the same event from 2013-2015.
More recently, PSJA Southwest’s Diego Treviño claimed the gold in the shot put in Class 5A in 2019, while Sharyland Pioneer’s Daisy Monie took home the silver in the shot put during last year’s Class 5A state meet.
Another group of throwers is looking to take the next step towards etching their name among the Valley’s greats, with 16 RGV athletes slated to compete in the shot put and discus during the Region IV-5A and 6A track and field championships.
The regional meet runs today through Saturday at Heroes Stadium in San Antonio. The top two finishers from each event advance to the state meet in two weeks.
Five of the top 10 marks in the Region IV-5A girls discus throw are held by Valley athletes this year, headlined by Rio Grande City’s Serina Ramirez.
Ramirez holds the No. 2 farthest throw in the event this year with a personal best mark of 155 feet, 1 inch set during the Mission Veterans Patriots Relays on March 4.
She opens today’s meet as the No. 1 seed, recording a throw of 148-07 during the Area 29/30 track and field meet, the furthest of any other athlete during the area round. Athletes are seeded for the regional meet based off their marks during their respective area meets.
“My confidence level is pretty good right now,” Ramirez said. “I feel going into the regional meet I have prepared myself well enough. I’ve worked all year round to get where I’m at right now. Making it to state or not, I’m still proud of where I am. Compared to last year, my marks are way better than they were.”
Brownsville Lopez’s Keyla Olguin set a new personal best during the Area 31/32-5A meet, taking home the gold with a mark of 136-03. The throw ranks No. 3 in the region this year according to Athletic.net, while also ranking as the second farthest throw behind Ramirez during the area round.
PSJA Southwest’s Ana Rodriguez and Marcela Treviño, who hold the No. 4 (135-07) and 6 (131-09) farthest marks in the region this year, join Olguin and Ramirez in competing in the discus throw today.
“Honestly, having this level of competition in the Valley pushes me to be the best that I can,” Ramirez said. “I love the competition. Without it, I don’t feel like I can perform at my best. When there is someone right behind me, I feel like I can push even harder than I can.
“I’m super excited to see how we all perform over there. Hopefully we can show everybody the talent there is in the Rio Grande Valley.”
Ramirez and Rodriguez are also slated to compete in the shot put. Ramirez set the third furthest throw in the region this year during the Mission Veterans Patriots Relays, recording a mark of 45-06.5. Rodriguez’s mark of 39-09.5 set during the area meet ranks No. 5 in the region this season.
In the boys division, Sharyland Pioneer’s Evan Thompson leads a pack of dominant throwers, ranking No. 1 and 2 in Region IV-5A in the shot put and discus, respectively.
Thompson, who is set to make his second consecutive regional meet appearance, set a new personal best in the discus during the Area 31/32-5A meet, recording a mark of 164-00. The throw was the furthest of any athlete during the area round, earning him the top spot going into the regional meet.
Meanwhile, Sharyland High’s Chukwubueze Ikondu has come on strong over the past few weeks, improving his mark from the first meet of the year by nearly 40 feet. Ikondu’s throw of 161-00 during the area meet ranks No. 4 in the region this year, while coming in as the third furthest throw during the area round.
McAllen Memorial’s Marco De Ochoa joins Thompson as the only other Valley boys thrower to qualify in both the shot put and discus. De Ochoa hold the No. 7 furthest mark this year both the discus (158-08) and shot put (49-08).
Day 1 of the Region IV-5A and 6A track meet begins at 9 a.m. today with the Class 5A field event finals and the Class 6A preliminary running events. Class 5A preliminary running events and Class 6A field event finals are set to follow at 2:30 p.m.