Veterans Memorial’s Guillermo Galvan and Mission High’s Tony Salinas made a statement at the Region IV-4A track and field meet in Heroes Stadium in San Antonio two weeks ago. They walked away with the gold and silver medals in both the shot put and the discus. With the top two throwers in both events coming from Mission schools, they left no doubt as to where the best throwing programs in the region, and possibly in the state, are located.
As Galvan and Salinas stood side-by-side atop the winners’ podium in San Antonio, they must’ve had that Deja vu feeling all over again. The two high school seniors have gone up against each other and taken first and second place in both events many times before, ever since Mission High School (MHS) joined Veterans Memorial High School (VMHS) in District 32-4A two years ago.
“Since we are in the same district and since we are from rival schools, we’ve competed against each other many times,” said Salinas. “With us both being so competitive, we both want to win every time we face off against each other, but one week he may be at his best and the following week I may be at my best. Therefore, which one of us wins varies from one week to the next. It all depends on who puts it on the line and comes through at the end.”
At the regional meet, it was Galvan that got the better of Salinas in both events. While both were close, the discus competition was ridiculously close as Galvan’s gold medal winning throw of 164’ 10” was just two inches better than Salinas’ best of 164’ 8”. In the shot put, Galvan’s throw of 58’ 1 ½” earned him his second gold medal of the meet, while Salinas’ throw of 57’ 2” earned him his second silver.
At the area meet, which preceded the regional meet, Salinas out-threw Galvan 57’ 1 ½” to 55’ 4 ½” in the shot put. But Galvan out-threw Salinas 159’ 11” to 157’ 10” in the discus.
While Galvan took up throwing his freshman year, he didn’t get serious about it until after he broke his leg playing football his sophomore year. That was when he started attending Coach Larry Howell’s throwing camps and decided to devote himself fully to the sport.
From his sophomore year to his junior year Galvan improved so much that his PR (personal record) jumped from 36’ to 52’ in the shot put and from 136’ To 164’ in the discus. Galvan credits his throwing coaches and his cross-town rivalry with Salinas for keeping him focused and allowing him to become the thrower he is today.
“Tony is such a great competitor that by him chasing me and me chasing him and us going back and forth the way we have from one meet to the next, it’s helped me to develop the character I need to excel,” said Galvan. “While it is a friendly rivalry, I use it to push myself to get better. I enjoy competing against somebody that is that good because I know that I have to be at my best each and every time I go up against him.”
Salinas, who has already signed a letter of intent to continue his throwing career at the University of Texas-Pan American, explained how he and Galvan have been supportive of each other while continuing to be rivals.
“It is a friendly rivalry between us, but when we’re at a meet and we’re in the zone, we don’t talk to each other,” said Salinas. “We will, however, congratulate each other on great throws or we’ll give each other low fives. We will also congratulate the other when the meets are over.”
As the top two finishers at regionals, Galvan and Salinas have both qualified for this weekend’s state meet in both events. While neither he nor Salinas have ever competed at the state level before, Galvan has his strategy already planned out.
“I’ll be going into the state meet knowing that I don’t have to do anything extraordinary,” he said. “I just have to keep having these great practices that I’ve been having and transfer that into the competition. As Coach (David) Longoria always says, ‘Just PR and everything else will take care of itself.’ That will be my mentality going into this meet.”