In the coming weeks ahead, we’ll have a piece on CIF Division 4 discus-throwing champion Noelle Chavez, from Aquinas, that might throw you a few surprises.
It’s kind of amazing, though, that a trio of area women’s throwers -- shot put and discus -- have worked their way through the ranks.
It’s Chavez, Cal Poly Pomona freshman Ana Tovi and University of Redlands graduate student Reyna Ta’amu, an NCAA shot put champion, we’re targeting today.
Why this week’s column matters:
These events are up for grabs, folks. If you’re not a soccer player, or a basketball player, or a softball pitcher-hitter, there are spots for bigger, muscular young women in the sport. These field events have college opportunities everywhere.
All it takes is honest interest, intelligent training, keen work ethic and a strong desire to compete.
Here’s the advice: Male or female, if you’re strong, bulky, athletic and willing, have a talk with the throws coach on your campus. It could be as important as showing up for Open House for a sit-down with your kids’ math, English or science teachers.
Sure, while most of the attention is focused on sprinters and hurdlers, jumpers and relays, track & field has its share of power in those weight events. College campuses offer scholarship money for those events, too.
It’s kind of cool.
Tovi, who blasted her way through four years at San Gorgonio, can call herself San Andreas League champion in the shot put all four seasons, three more titles in the discus.
She scored more points than anyone in the Spartans’ track program. Hardware from such invitationals as Cougar Classic (Beaumont), Saddle Up (Mission Viejo), Irvine Invitational, Flying Tiger (San Jacinto) and Inland Empire -- first place finishes, all around.
Post-season experience was superb -- CIF Division 2 shot put title as a sophomore in 2016, second place in 2017, third in both the shot put and discus, third place at CIF-Masters, all as a senior in 2018.
Cal Poly Pomona was a nice landing spot for Tovi.
Matt Maeda, the school’s athletic director, was wondering why there was no apparent interest from nearby University of Redlands.
There’s already a connection between Chavez and UofR throws coach Andrew Clarey, whose father, Robert, was just named principal at Redlands East Valley High.
If Tovi wound up at Redlands, just imagine how powerful this year’s current edition of the Lady Bulldogs might be, considering they had nationally-ranked sprinters, hurdlers, sprint relay and even a heptathlon candidate.
Throw in Ta’amu, who is the NCAA Division III shot put champion off a 49-7 blast last week.
Mike Schmidt, the 12th year coach, shares with anyone who’ll lend him an ear that they can teach anyone to run fast. He’s building Redlands into a nationally-based program.
Where Redlands clearly needs help is in the throws -- hammer, shot put and discus. You’ll learn in the coming weeks that Clarey privately coached Chavez to her CIF Division 4 discus-throwing championship.
Tovi would’ve been a nice fit with Ta’amu, this year’s NCAA champion who was the No. 1 seed heading into last week’s shot put finals.
Tovi, who had a nice jumping off spot at Cal Poly -- which is NCAA Division II -- would’ve been a superior force at the nearby university. It’s possible that the Division II standards might be too tough for Tovi. We’ll wait on that.
At Division III Redlands, though, she’d have been a force. Tovi pounded a 165-foot, 10 ½-inch discus toss this season, which would’ve been good enough to win last week’s Division III championship. The winning heave was around 160 feet.
Tovi hit 45- ½ in the shot put. That would’ve gotten her ninth place at last week’s Division III finals.
It’s where Chavez fits into the mix. She’s just learning. She’s already got a connection at Redlands. She’s announced a full intention to attack her upcoming senior year at Aquinas in both the shot and discus (no hammer in high school).
Tovi and Chavez could’ve been Redlands teammates.
Wait, though: Ilaisanne Tovi, Ana’s younger sister, is climbing through the ranks. This year’s SAL shot put and discus champion, took second to her older sister in the 2018 discus finals, third in the shot put.
There could be a big payoff in these events.
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