Saturday track and field

Refugio’s Alexa Valenzuela claims her second gold medal of the day with a leap in the Class 4A girls triple jump at the UIL state track and field meet in Austin. Valenzuela also earned first place in the long jump.

REFUGIO – Alexa Valenzuela completed her Refugio track and field career by winning four gold medals at the UIL state meet.

But even after bringing her medal haul with the Lady Cats to 11 gold medals and 13 overall, it wasn’t until the next weekend that Valenzuela truly felt like celebrating.

Valenzuela received notice that Texas-Rio Grande Valley had released her from the letter of intent she signed in November.

Valenzuela recently signed with Texas State and will be eligible in the upcoming season.

“It was scary because you didn’t know what was going to happen,” Valenzuela said. “Either you stay where you signed with and you go there and tough it out and you transfer or you go somewhere else and pay your whole tuition fee that year and get whatever you can the next year.”

Valenzuela began to wonder about her decision to sign with Texas-Rio Grande Valley during the final semester of her senior year.

“Sure enough, when I signed, I felt like I was a little kid,” she said. “I didn’t know what I was getting into. I was still new to the college stuff. So I was like, let me sign because I didn’t know if anybody else is going to come so I just signed. I wanted to go there but as time went on I wanted to stay closer to home.”

Valenzuela filed an official appeal to be released from her letter of intent in April and nervously waited on a response.

“I didn’t know what was going to happen,” she said. “I was just hoping for the best. I was hearing so many different things from different people. I didn’t care. I was just going to follow through.”

Valenzuela is looking forward to competing at Texas State. She signed as a jumper, but could also run sprints.

“I like competition,” Valenzuela said. “I’m going to be working with people who have been there longer than me and people who are going to push me to do my best. That’s what I think I’ll enjoy more. I’ve been here in high school not really getting pushed. When I do get pushed during the summer, it brings the best out of me.”

Valenzuela has been working two jobs during the summer, while practicing with the Sho Up ’N Sho Out track and field club in Victoria.

She’ll compete in the AAU Junior Olympics in Greensboro, N.C. later this month before getting ready for the move to San Marcos.

Valenzuela has no regrets, but did learn a valuable lesson.

“I would say don’t rush,” she emphasized. “Don’t rush anything. Take your time. When I was starting my senior year, I didn’t know what I was capable of when I first started. After state, I was shocked that I really did all this.”

Mike Forman is the sports editor of the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or by email at mforman@vicad.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mikeforman21

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Mike Forman is the sports editor of the Victoria Advocate. He has worked at the Advocate since 1982. He has a bachelor's degree from SMU and a master's degree from UCLA.

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