Izac Canchola had not even begun his freshman year at Refugio, but he already had an idea of what he wanted to do in the future.
“The javelin was my main thing,” Canchola said. “I told Coach (Jason) Herring when I was 13 that I’m going to go get a Division I scholarship in javelin.”
Canchola wasn’t completely accurate. He earned a scholarship in track and field at Stephen F. Austin, but it was to become a decathlete.
“I started with the field events,” said Canchola, who is a sophomore, but a freshman eligibility wise. “I was always good in the shot put and discus. The running events were the only hard thing for me.”
As a result, Canchola went back to throwing the javelin, an event he picked up while participating in summer track.
The move paid off as Canchola has qualified for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships that begin next week at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene.
Canchola made it to nationals by finishing 12th of the 48 competitors at the NCAA West preliminary round in College Station.
“It was nerve racking,” said Canchola, who had a throw of 213-feet, 7-inches in the preliminary round.
Canchola’s throw was short of the 222 feet he threw at the Southland Conference Outdoor Championships in Humble last month. But Canchola is dealing with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow that will require surgery after the season.
Canchola’s inspiration comes from his late grandmother, Viola Canchola.
“She always came to my meets as much as she could,” Izac Canchola said. “Then, she started getting sick so I had to bring her medals home. I buried a few of my medals with her.”
Canchola visits his grandmother’s grave site when he comes home to show her his medals. But he hasn’t had much time lately between school and practices.
Canchola started a pressure washing business to raise funds for a trip he plans to take with his wife, Armelle, who came to Stephen F. Austin from France to play tennis.
“I’ve been doing a bunch of core and a bunch of explosive workouts,” he said. “This sport is mainly all legs. You throw from the ground up. It’s just repetition and making sure it’s comfortable in your hand.”
Canchola will leave for Eugene on Sunday and will compete Wednesday evening.
His goal is to throw 245 feet, which is the qualifying mark for the Olympic trials, which will be held later this month in Eugene.
“I have three more throws to hit the Olympic trials mark,” Canchola said. “I’m going to throw my heart out and try to qualify. I’m shooting for the stars.”