As a two-event UIL State Track and Field qualifier, Veterans Memorial’s Guillermo Galvan earned the right to compete at the state meet last weekend in both the shot put and the discus. He won regional championships in both events at the Region IV-4A meet. Having never qualified for the state meet before, Galvan had no expectations of taking the gold in either event.
“Going into the state meet my goal was never to be a state champion,” said Galvan. “I was just going into the meet trying to do my personal best by setting a new PR and perhaps beat out a couple of people for a second place or a third place finish.”
“As the competition started, my mindset was ready,” added Galvan. “I had my sights set on Anthony Dudley (the favorite) and I was determined to put the pressure on him from the very beginning.”
Galvan’s first two throws felt good but they rolled off his fingers wrong and took a much higher trajectory than they should’ve. As a result his first throw measured only 50 feet 10 inches and his second throw measured 51 feet 4 ¾ inches – both significantly below his PR. While his slow start didn’t shake his confidence, fouling his third throw did cause him to wonder what was going on.
“At that point Coach Simon Mendoza told me to relax and he suggested that I get one warm-up throw in,” said Galvan. “So that’s what I did during the break. It was a big throw of 58 or 59 feet. That caused my confidence to grow immediately and my very next throw was the winner. It measured 56 feet ½ an inch.”
Not wanting to be distracted from the job at hand, Galvan kept to himself between throws and did not pay attention to what the other throwers were throwing. As a result, he had no idea that he was the leader going into the final round.
“After my final throw I was disappointed in myself because I knew that I hadn’t PR’d but I was hoping that I might still make it onto the podium,” Galvan said. “As I watched Dudley make the final throw of the competition and I saw it go 55 feet I felt a hard slap on my back. I turned around and it was Coach Mendoza. His hands were shaking a little and he asked me, ‘Hey boy, how does it feel to be a gold medal winner?’ I couldn’t believe it. I had just won the state championship. It was like I was in a dream state.”
Galvan’s success can be attributed in large part to his own hard work and determination, but he is quick to give credit to the coaches that have helped him along the way – especially Coach Larry Howell of the All American Throwers’ Camps.
“Coach Howell has been the driving force behind my success,” said Galvan. “He’s the one that helped prepare me from the very start. I became a thrower because of him. At first, I was just a football player doing track, but I really started loving track because of Coach Howell. He has helped me so much with the mental preparation for these events and he has helped me to remain focused and to prepare for each competition. I want to thank Coach Howell for that.”