By John P. Wyllie
When Andrea Villa joined Bonita Vista’s Track & Field Team as a sophomore two years ago she hoped to make an impact as a runner. The onset of painful shin splints caused her to change course however, and look in another direction. Still wanting to be a part of the team, Villa decided to capitalize on her upper body strength and focus on throwing the shot put and the discus. Now a senior, she has established herself as one of the premier discus hurlers in the South Bay. With a 3.5 G.P.A and a long list of accomplishments through extracurricular activities such as Campus Task Force and Best Buddies, Villa is the complete package.
“If you are fast, you’re fast and if you are slow, you’re slow. With this, there is a lot more opportunity for improvement,” Villa said before hurling the discus against Sweetwater High. “There have been tiny girls with great technique that have out thrown many bigger girls. It is harder to succeed in this because it involves your whole body not just your legs. “(Just like in hitting a golf ball) you have to focus more on technique than on strength.” Villa’s technique has made people stand up and take notice. She has placed first or second in most of the team’s dual meets this season and done no worse than fourth in any of the invitationals.”
“Last week she set a personal record with the discus throwing it 94 feet,” said BV assistant coach Keith De Walt. “She is constantly improving.” Her skill in tossing the discus however, is not what De Walt likes best about Villa.
“She is a leader and the other kids respect her and listen to what she says. When it comes to training, she knows what to do and she practices on her own. She is a pleasure to be around because she coaches herself. Andrea has helped us a lot with the other girls this season, so I have asked her to return next year as coach.”
“I’ll be attending Southwestern College next year, but I’d like to return here to coach. There is also a chance I’ll continue throwing the discus in college,” Villa said. “I’ll take whatever opportunities that come along.”
One of the opportunities she has had this year is to teach her younger brother Alonzo how to throw the discus. While track athletes compete against athletes of their same sex at meets, practices are grouped into events regardless of sex. So, the Villa siblings see a lot of each other in practice.
“It’s been interesting,” Villa said with a giggle. “I’ve tried to mold him and work with him on things that I didn’t get a chance to do. I think he would rather I tell him what to do than somebody else. After all, he is used to hearing it from me.”