Written by Luciano Guerra Thursday, 24 May 2012 16:32
At 5’ 7’ inches tall and 230 pounds, sophomore Felipe Valencia does not stand out at all among his fellow La Joya Palmview High School students when he walks the halls. But he stands out in a big way when he steps into the shot put circle, rests the 12-pound steel ball against his neck and throws the shot. The state silver medalist stands tall as one of the best shot putters in the State of Texas.
In a sport in which size and strength are definite advantages, Felipe found himself competing against athletes almost a foot taller and 100 pounds heavier when he advanced to the state shot put finals this month.
Palmview Track Coach Daniel Lombrana pointed this out when he said, “When we went to state, the gentleman that beat Felipe was something like 6’ 6” tall and weighed 325 pounds. Then I looked at the kid from Eagle Pass that beat Felipe at regionals…and that guy was 6’ 6” and 350 pounds.”
Inspired by his sister Irasema, a 2004 La Joya High School graduate, who qualified for regionals in shot put for the Coyotes, Felipe first took up the shot put in seventh grade. His immediate success motivated him to keep at it.