Sharyland Pioneer's Daizy Monie competes in the discus throw during the UIL State Track and Field Championships at Mike A. Meyers Stadium on Friday, May 10, 2019, in Austin. (Joel Martinez |

MISSION — Sharyland Pioneer’s Daisy Monie has been one of the Rio Grande Valley’s most successful track and field athletes since her high school career first began.

Monie burst onto the scene as a talented thrower as a freshman, earning her way to the University Interscholastic League’s Track and Field State Championship meet as a freshman in discus.

The Diamondbacks’ track and field star earned her way back to the state meet as a sophomore, setting a new personal record and finishing second overall in discus in Class 5A.

Now, the Pioneer senior is locked in and intent on earning her way back to contend for a state championship after two years of waiting and a promising junior season that was derailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It just gave all of us seniors more motivation. Because last year, our season got short, right when the district meet was about to start,” Monie said. “It’s honestly just a blessing that we’ve made it this far in the season. … Last year showed us that we didn’t know what tomorrow will bring.”

Monie, who has followed in her older sister’s footsteps as a champion thrower, has excelled for the Diamondbacks in shot put and discus since the earliest days of her high school career.

She finished 10th overall at the Region IV meet in shot put and ninth at state in discus as a freshman, when Pioneer girls track and field coach Claudia Garza challenged her to elevate her expectations.

“I (told her), ‘Your goal should be to get hungry. You should want to get a medal when you get there,’” Garza said. “I think she really took it to heart. And when she did make it, she was so, so thankful, like so appreciative. I really believed in her, and I think she took it to where somebody really thinks I can do it, so I’m going to work hard for it.”

That hard work has paid dividends for Monie several times over.

She made it back to the state meet and medaled as a sophomore and was on track to make her third straight trip as a junior before the District 31-5A meet was canceled, along with the remainder of the track and field season.

That gave her plenty of time to grind throughout the lockdown and offseason that has produced tangible results.

Monie has taken first place in discus in five of her six meets as a senior and has dominated to an even greater extent at shot put.

She has won first in every shot put event so far this season and shattered the Rio Grande Valley’s all-time throwing record with a 47-foot toss in her most recent competition, winning the PSJA Bears Relays.

“Everybody in this team is just so happy for her,” Garza said. “We know everything that she’s done and how hard she’s worked.”

Monie, a Houston Cougars signee, enters the District 31-5A meet as a heavy favorite to claim district titles in both events on her march to the state meet, but has set higher expectations for herself hoping to surpass a 145-foot discus toss and become the first Valley athlete to ever land a 50-foot shot put throw.

“This past week I broke the Valley record, but I know that’s not my ending,” she said. “I’m not satisfied. I do know that the best is yet to come. … I have six weeks till the state track meet and I’m going to try my very best to keep pushing forward and not let any outside sources distract me.”

While Monie enters the Valley’s district track meets as a heavy favorite among 5A throwers, the district title race in Class 6A figures to be very closely contested.

Five of the top eight shot put throwers throughout Region IV in 6A represent the Rio Grande Valley.

PSJA North’s Jaylah Martinez and Edinburg Economedes’ Arlysa Sierra will likely go head-to-head for first place in District 31-6A, while a crowded field led by Harlingen South’s Jasmine Ortiz, Weslaco High’s Patience Estrada and Los Fresnos’ Alejandra Garcia vie for the 32-6A shot put title.

Martinez and Sierra also figure into the district title conversation in discus in 31-6A, but they will be challenged by PSJA North’s Ayssa De La Garza and PSJA High’s Kaylah Hernandez.

Hernandez, a multi-sport athlete who also stars in basketball and softball for the Bears, has stepped up her throwing in a major way toward the end of the season.

The PSJA High junior has set a new personal record in her last performance at the PSJA Bears Relays to emerge as a darkhorse district title favorite.

“Technique is key for shot put and disc if I’m being honest. Coach (Nick) Mendoza (tells me), ‘Little tweaks add 5 feet,’” Hernandez said. “My discus (has improved the most). This summer during quarantine, I’d FaceTime my trainer and we would work on the little things. I’ve been beating my personal record these past two meets. Hopefully I can do the same (at the district meet).”


Twitter: @ByAndyMcCulloch