LASARA — Nestled within the confines of Willacy County is Lasara, a town with a population just over 1,000.

The town’s school is made up of just 101 students, with elementary and high school sharing the same building.

Despite its small-town status, Lasara has become a hot bed for college signings, with numerous athletes moving on to the next level.

From current UTRGV mid-distance runner Selissa Gonzales (2018-22) to former University of Arlington thrower Tres Rodriguez (2016-2020), the Lions have had their fair share of collegiate athletes.

Add senior thrower Xiomara Rodriguez to the bunch, as the three-time Class 1A discus state champion officially signed her National Letter of Intent to Lamar University during a ceremony Wednesday at the Lasara ISD Sports Complex.

Lamar University is an NCAA Division I university located in Beaumont that competes in the Southland Conference.

Lasara’s Xiomara Rodriguez signs her NLI to Lamar University during a ceremony at the Lasara ISD Sports Complex on Wednesday. (Ivan Palacios | RGVSports)

“It means a lot being a Division I athlete coming out of Lasara,” said Rodriguez, who is the younger sister of Tres. “I hope to inspire the little ones to commit their sports and try and go DI or DII or wherever they want to go. It just feels amazing.”

Rodriguez splashed onto the high school throwing scene as a freshman, qualifying for the UIL state track and field championships in the Class 1A discus and shot put during her first varsity season.

A silver medal at state in the discus set the tone for what would be one of the most decorated careers in RGV history for Rodriguez.

One year after capturing silver, the Lions’ thrower returned to state in the discus, winning her first state title in the event.

She followed it up with another stellar showing as a junior, qualifying for state in both events once again. At state she went back-to-back in the discus and added a bronze in the shot put, her first state medal in the event.

Rodriguez saved her best meet for the final one of her high school career, setting personal bests in both events at this year’s state meet en route to a sweep of the gold medals in Class 1A throwing events.

Lasara thrower Xiomara Rodriguez celebrates after capturing her second gold medal during the 2024 UIL State Track and Field Championships on May 4 at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin. (Joel Martinez | The Monitor)

“That was the favorite moment of my career, ending it as a double champion,” Rodriguez said. “It meant a lot to me because it had been a goal since my freshman year when I won my first medal. Overall, it was just amazing being a part of this track program. Just being developed into the athlete I am today by coaches and teachers who helped with the process, it feels good.

Rodriguez finished her high school career as a six-time UIL state medalist, the most of any RGV athlete during the past four years.

During that span, the Lions’ thrower won three straight Class 1A discus state titles (2022-2024), one Class 1A state shot (2024), a silver in the discus (2021) and a bronze in the shot put (2023).

The best is yet to come for Rodriguez, however, as she eyes making the same kind of splash at the collegiate level next fall.

“It is a little nerve-wracking for me,” Rodriguez said. “I’m going to go to the next level and compete against all these older kids who have more experience than I do. Overall, though, I know my coach will get me to where I want to be and hopefully to a couple of titles. My goal now is to reach the podium by the end of the year. If not, then hopefully finish top eight or top 10 by the end of my freshman year.”

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