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Tomas Canchola captures silver at state in shot put
by Drew Cox
Jun 11, 2009 | 488 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
RHS athlete Tomas Canchola tosses the shot to earn a silver medal at state in Austin on Saturday.
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It all began in the summer of 1999 when eight-year-old Tomas Canchola stepped out onto the Refugio High School track for the first time as an athlete. It all ended Saturday in Austin at the state track meet when a silver medal was hung around his neck.

What happened between elementary school and high school is a story

Tomas threw the shot for five years in summer track. During this time he won four gold medals and one silver medal at the Junior Olympics.

He went on to throw for six more seasons as a Refugio Bobcat, two in junior high and four more in high school. The number of medals won during these years are too numerous to count, but the majority of them are gold.

“Tomas is an explosive athlete in the ring,” said Coach Drew Cox. “His work ethic is great and he’s out there every day.”

Tomas advanced to the state track meet his sophomore and junior years but both years walked away empty handed.

“I may not have won a medal but I gained a ton of experience in my last two trips to state,” Tomas said. “I used that experience to make sure this year I had a different outcome.”

As the competition began it was clear that there were three throwers who were the class of the field. They were Sean Reagan of Idalou, Weston Richmond of Bushland and Tomas Canchola of Refugio. Sean’s first throw was good but he was plagued by scratches all afternoon, which eventually took him out of the competition.

The true battle would come down to Weston and Tomas. Weston started things off with a 58-foot throw. Tomas followed with a 58-foot plus throw, but touched the top of the toe-board and was called for a scratch.

“After that first throw all the pressure was gone,” Tomas said. “Even though I scratched I knew it was a good throw. It was at this point that I knew it was going to be a good day.”

Tomas’ second throw went 57 feet 9 inches. His next three throws were 56 feet, 55 feet and another 57 foot throw.

Meanwhile, Weston had extended his lead with a 59 feet 2 inch throw. Tomas stepped into the ring with one final throw.

“I was thinking about what my mom always says to me. Do better! That is what she is always telling me,” Tomas said. “It is very simple, but that is what was going through my mind.”

His final throw was Tomas’ best of the day, landing on the 60-foot line, which would have moved him into the lead.

“The excitement was short lived though, as the judge threw up his red flag to indicate a scratch,” said Coach Jacob Ray.

Tomas walked away with the silver medal.

“Weston weighed in at least 90 pounds more than Tomas,” Cox said. “But Tomas’ technique is so good and he is so explosive, he is a great competitor.”

After the competition Tomas thanked his Mom and Dad for all their support over the years.

“All the miles they drove, money they spent and weekends they gave up to support me, they’ll never know how much it has meant to me,” Tomas said. “ I also want to thank all my coaches throughout the years, especially Coach Compton and Coach Cox. Coach Compton for helping me in my early years and Coach Cox for helping me get where I am today.”

Tomas’ high school career ended on Saturday, but he far from being done on the track field. He received a scholarship to throw for McNeese State in the Southland Conference.

“When I was down on the field after the competition I was thinking to myself, this is it, I’m at the big show and this is the end of the road, at least my high school road,” he said. “Now it’s on to my next journey.”

“To put Tomas’s accomplishment into perspective, there were more than 600 male shot put throwers in Class 2A this season and he wound up number two,” Cox said.

The coaches said they appreciate all the great memories that Tomas left them.

“Refugio is proud of Tomas and and we wish him continued success in college,” Cox added.
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