Lasara’s Rodriguez makes history signing with LCU

LASARA — Tres Rodriguez solidified his spot in Lasara High School history Tuesday when he signed to compete in track & field for Lubbock Christian University.

The thrower may not have had the chance to end his senior year at the UIL state track & field meet like he hoped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he did become the first Lasara athlete to earn a scholarship in the sport. Plenty of supporters, all wearing masks, gathered in the school gym to celebrate his accomplishment, and district principal William Bardwell even donned the Lions’ mascot suit for the ceremony.

“It’s very exciting. I just hope I’m not the last. I want to see other athletes sign and see the school grow,” Rodriguez said. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my family and my friends supporting me through everything. It’s been a great experience, and I hope my college career is pretty good, too.”

Rodriguez said the journey to achieving this goal was long and hard, and he got emotional when he talked about the sacrifices made by himself and his family. He attended South Texas Science Academy in Mercedes his first two years of high school, and his mom, Micaela Alaniz, drove him all over for track meets and practices while he simultaneously competed for Lasara.

Rodriguez said he couldn’t have reached this milestone without his mom’s support, and Alaniz teared up as she reminisced on his high school years. The family devoted their summers to Rodriguez’s track career, and it was rewarding for all to see him make it to the next level.

“He set out when he was going into ninth grade and said, ‘Mom, I’m going to try for a track scholarship.’ I told him, ‘You’re focused, you’re goal-oriented, but it’s going to take a lot of sacrifice on your part.’ When other kids were out socializing, he was throwing, he was practicing,” Alaniz said. “It was well worth it. It’s a great feeling, it’s a great accomplishment for him and we’re all extremely proud.”

Part of the process for Rodriguez was filling in his frame and adding muscle to improve his throws. Lasara track & field coach Rey Garza said that after Rodriguez qualified for the regional track meet as a junior and saw how big and strong his competitors were, he took on the challenge presented by his coaches to bulk up.

Rodriguez gained more than 60 pounds during the past year, eating every two hours even if he didn’t want to for several months and hitting the weight room to help his craft. He peaked at 240 this season, and Garza rewarded his dedication by taking the standout athlete to specific meets to make sure he went up against the top competition in the Rio Grande Valley.

Rodriguez swept the throws Feb. 29 at the Edcouch-Elsa Yellowjacket Invitational and followed that performance with two personal bests March 6 at the Mission Veterans Patriots Relays. He finished second in discus and third in shot put with throws of 158 feet, 10 1/2 inches and 51-3, respectively, in Mission.

“I’ve always known weight pushes weight, and I felt a lot stronger and a lot bigger this year. The 16-pound ball is coming up in college, so it’s going to be more tough. I plan to be 250-260 when I get to college,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez will be studying business while competing for the Chaparrals in the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference. As he heads on to the next chapter of his life, Garza said the example Rodriguez set will continue to motivate all the student-athletes in Lasara.

“The kids are starting to see the light, and this is going to push them. They’re starting to trust the process, and this is going to be a big boost for the track program,” Garza said. “He’s a kid you could trust and he always did what he needed to do, and that’s a coach’s dream.”