Pitchers aim to launch the Athletics to a strong WAC Outdoor Championship exit
GREAT RIO VALLEY – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley throwing group may be small this outdoor season, but the marks the Vaqueros have earned are anything but.
Second year students Marco Guajardo and Michael Campbelljunior Julien Trevin and senior red shirt Christian Hall-Gardner lead the group of events and are all ranked among the best in the Western Athletic Conference in men’s four throws with the outdoor championships just around the corner. Second year Kayleen May is the only female pitcher the UTRGV has competing this season outdoors, earning her crucial points for the Vaqueros.
First-year UTRGV throwing coach Cleopatra Borel, a four-time Olympian and former NCAA shot put champion, said it was exciting to mentor this group of hard-working student-athletes.
“It was a real pleasure to work with them, to get to know them and to grow as a team,” said Borel. “We had our challenges, but I’m happy to have a good group of student-athletes who really rose to the challenge.”
Trevino and Guajardo have made impressive progress from javelin throwing only as part of the decathlon to full fledged javelin throwers. They are ranked seventh and 11andrespectively, in the WAC javelin with medal aspirations at the May 12-14 conference meet in Seattle.
“It’s so fantastic to see former multiplayers now trying to score with the javelin. I’m really proud of them. They’ve worked extremely hard this year and I hope it pays off,” Borel said.
Trevino earned second-team All-WAC honors in 2019 after placing sixth in javelin. In 2021, he finished seventh in the javelin throw and ninth in the decathlon, winning the decathlon javelin throw. Trevino has a personal best in both games and expects to do three in a row.
“The competition is a bit tougher this year, there were a lot of big throws there, so it’s going to increase my competitive spirit,” Trevino said. “I dealt with an oblique strain, but I’m healthier. When I go to this competition, I’m going to feel fresh and healthy and I feel really, really confident that I can hit a big mark. I’m going to do 60 meters.”
This season, Trevino has won three of five competitions, including a first-place finish at the South Texas Showdown. He hit a PR of 54.64 yards – the third-best throw in program history – to finish third at the Texas A&M-Kingsville Cactus Cup.
Trevino, a mechanical engineering student who will graduate this spring and finish his track career next season as a graduate student pursuing a master of science in engineering, is described as a highly technical athlete. He had no javelin experience before the UTRGV and specializing in the event this year has taught him a lot.
“It’s really a different take on things from a sprinter/jumper’s point of view. I really have to grow and consider my body and how to protect it because the javelin has an impact,” Trevino said. “Becoming more technical with and more sonic with it is more than a sport now. It becomes a passion.
“Technique is everything. Arm strength will only get you so far. I learned that my freshman year,” he added. “You have to incorporate your legs, and once you start doing that it’s a whole different game. You run at a decent speed, you come to a complete stop, try to plant that leg, try to be stiff with the leg when it’s very easy to want to bend it. This plant is going to take its toll because it compresses your spine, but that’s how you really swing and get those big, big throws. It takes a lot of practice .
Guajardo said it was a whole different training process to work as a pitcher instead of a multi. He has three top-five finishes in the javelin, including a first-place finish at the UTSA Roadrunner Invitational, where he hit a PR of 50.51 meters.
“Last year I was a decathlete and fell in love with the javelin. Being just a jumper this year I didn’t want to leave the event so I spoke up and asked to keep throwing the jav” , Guajardo said. “Going through the process of really being a javelin thrower has been so much fun and I hope to continue the next two years because I love the event.
“It’s one of the most technical things,” he added. “Jumps and things are very much related to the javelin, using the placement and technique of your hips and feet. My coach was really great at using different cues and learning from other events and it really united my javelin technique.”
May is also a javelin thrower and will compete in her first WAC Outdoor Championship next week. She hit another PR in her last encounter, placing fifth at the Cactus Cup with a throw of 28.73 meters.
Campbell is ranked second in the shot put and fourth in the discus before the conference meet. Twice Campbell has finished first in both pitches in a meet. He had four of the top 10 discus throws in program history this season and two of the top 10 in the shot put.
Hall-Gardner is sixth in the hammer throw, 13and shot put and 18and on disc. It’s not an easy task to race between the three events, especially in a one-day encounter, but Borel praised the effort he’s put in throughout the season and it will only do the trick. make it stronger for the conference competition.
“Michael and Christian are fantastic athletes with great technique and a great work ethic. I’m very happy to see them hopefully make even bigger breakthroughs at WAC and really benefit from the experience,” said Borel. “Michael has the talent and all the tools to win the WAC. He’s got the physique for the event, he’s got the mindset and with this combination it’s very hard to top him.”
This season, the UTRGV head coach Shareese Hicks said the event groups competed against each other, with each wanting to be the standout group in a meet. They will continue to push and encourage each other at the conference and hope to take some gear home.
“It’s been a year of growth and building, but we’re becoming a very successful team as we go,” Guajardo said. “I’m really excited for WAC because I really think a lot of new PRs are coming and a lot of different events are going to shine.”
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