Tolleson Union senior Anthony Medrano

Tolleson Union senior Anthony Medrano attempts a discus throw at the Nike Chandler Rotary Invitational on March 23. (West Valley View photo by Eric Newman)

Tolleson Union senior Anthony Medrano does not have the back story you might expect from one of Arizona’s top high school discus throwers.

Medrano placed third in the 2018 State Meet discus throw as a junior. The throwers who placed first and second graduated this summer. It is likely he will find himself in contention for the medal stand again come the 2019 championship in May. 

However, his excellence did not come as a result of holding a miniature discus in his hands as a little kid, or a long-time dream of competing in high school track from a young age. When he first showed up to track practice, just over two years ago as a sophomore, he said he just wanted to “get up off the couch” after school.

“My mom basically told me I had to get a job or I had to try out for track,” he said through a smile. “And now here I am, and I fell in love with it.”

Wolverine track coach Jason Fleming was a part of getting Medrano involved in the sport as well. As Medrano’s social studies teacher, Fleming saw his body shape, strength and personality as fitting for a quality thrower. After convincing the sophomore how much fun it would be to compete, and how little running he might have to do to still be on the track and field team, it appeared a natural fit.

“I’ve been competing in and then coaching track a long time. So, I looked at him and knew he could be a good thrower, so I encouraged him to come out,” Fleming said.

Medrano admittedly struggled with the sport at first. He could not get the technique down to utilize his strength and mobility for good throws. However, he kept at it, and threw a personal record at a meet at Copper Canyon as a sophomore that qualified him for the 2017 state meet. He kept getting even better.

“He got 11th as a sophomore who had never thrown before a few months prior. That’s pretty special,” Fleming said.

Now, more than just a solid athlete who can earn points for Tolleson at meets, and could walk away with another medal this season, Fleming calls the senior a role model for younger Tolleson athletes. His rise from sitting on the couch to a state medal in just a few years is an example to underclassmen of the results that can come with hard work and dedication.

“He wants to make sure that what he leaves behind isn’t just a distance. He wants to leave as a leader who people remember and look up to,” Fleming said.

There will be time for Medrano to reflect on a successful high school career, and hopefully throw in college when the time comes. However, for the next few weeks, his pursuit of a state title, while still having fun with preparation each day, is his main focus.

“Of course I’m thinking towards state in all my meets. But right now, I’m just enjoying the current day. If you’re not doing that, there’s no reason to be out here at all, and you’re not going to get to that next level,” Medrano said.

“But, it’s going to be great to be there at state eventually in this class, with all these great guys. Desert Vista has been running with it the past few years, and we’re all motivated to try and be the guy who breaks that mold this season.”