State championships are hard to come by. They’re the ultimate prize for every high school athlete across the Lone Star State, but only a select few ever get to experience the feeling of having that highly sought after gold medal draped around their necks while standing atop the center platform of the medals podium.
Pioneer High’s Nora Monie joined that exclusive club just one week ago as she became the first female athlete from a Sharyland ISD school to claim a University Interscholastic League State Championship and as she joined powerlifting (a non-UIL sport) champion and fellow Lady Diamondback Alexandra Winfree as the only two state champions in Pioneer High School history. And she did so by throwing the discus 141 feet 8 inches at the UIL State Track and Field Championship Meet held at the University of Texas at Austin last week.
“Nora is one of those athletes that coaches dream of having,” Sharyland ISD Athletic Director Richard Thompson said. “She’s competed for either Sharyland High or Pioneer High for four years and she’s excelled each year. She has now reached the pinnacle by earning a state championship.”
“It was on her last throw in the pouring rain that she made her gold medal winning throw and that was probably as impressive as anything,” Thompson added.
Monie, whose fourth throw of 133 feet 3 inches had her in second place as she prepared to make her sixth and final throw, knew that she had a gold medal-winning throw in her. Her personal record this season was 144 feet, so despite the pouring rain, lightning delays and the pain in her left ankle from an injury she sustained just days earlier, she was determined to make her final throw count.
“Since the very first throw Coach (Larry) Howell and I were saying that all I needed to do was to improve an inch or an inch-and-a-half every throw,” Monie said. “I actually did that because I got better with each throw. Then on my next to last throw I felt it pop, or explode, off my hand so I knew it was a good throw but it went wide left and I fouled. That left me with just one throw left but I wasn’t worried because I knew that no matter what happened God had my back.
“All week Coach Howell had been telling me to cheat a little bit when I got into the ring,” Monie added. “By that, he meant that I should bring God into the ring with me so there would be two people in there at the same time, which is illegal, and that’s his form of cheating.”
Once she made her final throw, Monie did not need to wait for its distance to appear on the board.
“I knew where the lines were and during the competition everyone was between the 120 foot and the 140 foot lines,” Monie said. “Once my final throw landed, I saw it fall past the 140 foot line so I just jumped because I knew that it was the best throw of the day. I felt awesome.”
While the discus has been her strongest event for most of her track and field career, Monie is also one of the top shot putters in the state. The fact that she not only qualified for the state meet in the shot put but earned her way onto the podium as well is proof of that.
As the bronze medal winner in the shot put, Monie was the only 5A girls thrower at last week’s state meet that medaled in both events. That made Coach Sandra Guerrero, her four-year track and field coach at Sharyland High and at Pioneer, extremely proud.
“Words can’t even express how proud I am of Nora,” Guerrero said. “She’s come a long way over the past four years, and it was always her goal to win state. She even joined powerlifting this year in hopes of winning state but she placed fourth. She was disappointed but I told her not to worry about it because in her sport she would be state champ.”
Monie has already signed a letter of intent to attend school at and throw for the University of Houston where she plans to major in kinesiology.