Izac has qualified for three straight years and this year, tossed the shot put 29f ft., 9 inches, his best throw of the summer.
In addition to Izac, five other Refugio youths made a return trip to the AAU Junior Olympics including Alicia Canchola, Chris Moya, Jaylon Mascorro, Shaylia Bisby, and Shaylan Brown.
Five more youths qualified to compete for the first time including Briana Rodriguez, Kaitlyn Valderrama, Kaleb Wright, Jared Kelly and Robert Ortiz.
“It was a great accomplishment to get that many more kids just from our town,” said Gloria Canchola, Izac’s mother. “We still have more in Refugio that we hope to see go next year. We are happy that the kids were able to experience this opportunity.”
The trip was somewhat grueling, according to Canchola, a factor that may have taken its toll on the athletes’ performances.
“We had a few bad moments,” she said. “It took 31 hours to travel to Virginia and 30 hours to get back to Texas. Overall, everyone tried and gave their best.”
Qualifying for nationals made all the kids winners, she said.
“We hope to see more people interested in going to compete at this level next year,” Canchola said.
Izac’s competitors were introduced as the top eight in the nation. He was reunited with athletes from Tennessee and New York who he had competed against in previous years.
Canchola said the experience was possible because of community members who made personal donations, and other contributors like O’Reillys, Texas Garden, VFW, Shell, McDonald’s, Dairy Queen, Discount Auto, and Frances’ Beauty Shop.
Next year’s Junior Olympics will be held in New Orleans.