Coco aims for the gold

Coco Velasquez earned three gold medals in shot put, javelin and 4x100m at USA Track & Field Youth Outdoor Nationals in Illinois, Friday, June 30.
Velasquez beams with joy during USATF Hershey Youth Outdoor Track & Field Championships, June 28-July 3, 2016 at Millersville University of Pennsylvania.
Coco Velasquez showing her speed and athleticism during a Track & Field meet.
Maria Rivera | The Southern Ute Drum
Maria Rivera | The Southern Ute Drum
Maria Rivera | The Southern Ute Drum

Southern Ute tribal descendant, Coco Velasquez of Mesa, AZ just finished her fourth year in Track & Field. She competes in jumping, running and throwing events with the Arizona Flames; Track & Field team. At a young age, she traveled around the country to compete and has placed in a lot of the tournaments she has attended. This year has been an exceptional year for Velasquez, and for her it’s just a start. Her long-term goals include making it to the Olympic Trials in eight years.

Velasquez runs the 55m, 100m, 200m, 4x100m, high jump, throws shot put and javelin. She has qualified for the USATF Junior Olympics all four years of her competing and has been ranked top five in the nation. During the regular season from Jan-July she was only defeated once in the Javelin and went undefeated in shot put. This past year has been an exceptional year in her career and she doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.

This year she qualified for the USA Track & Field Youth Indoor National Championship at Ocean Breeze Track Complex, Staten Island, NY, March 10-12 and placed second in shot put, seventh in high jump and ran the 55m with an injured knee. She dominated the state meet and qualified for the USATF Junior Olympics Regionals, July 6-9 which has teams from AZ, CO, NM, UT, and border towns of Texas. At regionals she finished third in the multis and won in shot put, javelin and placed fourth in the 4×100. In June she went to Nationals in IL, where she left with a gold medal for shot put, javelin and 4×100. She also qualified for USATF Junior Olymipics in Lawrence, KS, and finished second in the nation in javelin, 11th in shot put and finished the 4x100m.

Her future plans include making the Olympic Trials in 2024, then go to law school at Louisiana State University (LSU) and become a lawyer. She is active in church and volunteers on a regular basis. When she is interviewed by different organizations she always gives thanks to God for her blessings, her family for all their sacrifices and her sponsors. She is proud of her diverse nationalities (Southern Ute descendant, Navajo descendant, Spanish and African American) and is a mentor to other minority girls that may have a hard time with their identity. Her family is very proud of all her hard work and accomplishments and will continue to support her in her journey.

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