Quincy grad Armando Tafoya competes at Nationals
Quincy High School graduate and Central Washington University junior Armando Tafoya competed two weekends ago at the national Division II track and field meet in Bradenton, Fla.
Tafoya competed in the hammer throw, which ironically is the newest of his three sports. He also is a discus thrower and a shot-putter.
“It’s my favorite now, because it’s the one I do best, but I like the other ones, too,” he said.
The top 19 or 20 Division II collegiate athletes in the nation qualified for nationals, depending on the event.
Tafoya, whose brother Alberto competed at the state track-and-field meet that same weekend, entered nationals ranked 19th out of 19 athletes.
“I ended up finishing 17th at the meet,” Armando said. “It wasn’t my best day.” Still, he competed with the goal of at least beating one other thrower and he beat two, so he was happy about that.
Next year, he wants to qualify for nationals in all three events, he said.
College athletics differ from high school athletics in that they have an outdoor and an indoor season.
He competes in the indoor season as well, and wants to make it to indoor nationals next year, too.
This year, he was ranked among the top 20 indoors, but they only take the top 15 to indoor nationals, so he stayed home.
Next year, he wants to not just return to Nationals, both indoor and outdoor, but to finish in the top 10.
“If you place in the top 10, you are an All-American,” he said. “I’m going in with those hopes.”
The Olympics may still be a little too far out of reach for him, Armando added.
“I’m not that good,” he said.
With Alberto graduating in a few days and seeking to walk on at CWU as a thrower, Armando had some advice for his little brother.
“(He has to) keep his grades up,” he said. “And he needs to gain some weight if he wants to throw.”
With enough confidence, and hard work the possibilities are endless for Alberto and many other athletes seeking a shot at competing in Division II.
“This year there’s a kid who’s ranked 10th in the world for shot put, and he’s from a D-II school,” Tafoya said.
Garrett Appier attends Pittsburgh State.
“He’s really good, we are going to see him this summer on TV,” Armando said.