Matt Weir / The Collegian
From the Mount Sacramento Relays to the Waterdam Track at Fresno State, senior Sharon Ayala has â€œhammeredâ€ her way to a No. 2 ranking in her respective event.
The native of Mexico has become a record-breaking standout thrower for Bulldogs track and field. She is currently behind defending NCAA champion Eva Urban of USC in the national rankings for the hammer event.
Ayala feels that part of her No. 2 spot is because of the support system behind her.
â€œHonestly it feels great,â€ Ayala said. â€œI mean, I have a great staff behind me. The coach (Lisa Misipeka) is amazing. Without her, I wouldnâ€™t be anything. It feels amazing to be a part of this program.â€
In 2008, Ayala shattered the hammer throw record with a toss of 203-4 (61.98m) at the Mount Sacramento Relays.
In 2009, she broke her record with a heave of 216 feet (65.84m) on April 18.
â€œLast year was great. Itâ€™s good to throw over 200 feet.,â€ Ayala said. â€œWhen I threw over 215 feet, it was an amazing feeling.â€
For Ayala, there really is no secret to her success. There are two contributing factors: work ethic and coaching.
â€œI think itâ€™s a combination of both,â€ Ayala said. â€œI think itâ€™s the coaching and a lot of my work ethic. Itâ€™s all a matter of the thrower. If you want to really achieve yourself, you have to push yourself to the sky. There really is no limit. You can only control yourself.â€
Her throws coach, Lisa Misipeka, has nothing but high praise for Ayalaâ€™s work ethic and attitude.
â€œI think sheâ€™s an animal,â€ Misipeka said with a laugh. â€œSheâ€™s got a work ethic thatâ€™s definitely going to take her far in life. Not just with athletics. Sheâ€™s very coachable and a pleasant athlete to be around.â€
Misipeka believes that Ayalaâ€™s hard work can get her an even higher ranking.
â€œShe deserves to be number one,â€ Misipeka said. â€œSheâ€™s physically gifted with her size and work ethic, she squats almost 500 pounds and thatâ€™s why sheâ€™s second. Someone like that deserves to be where she is, if not better.â€
Even when Ayala is throwing inside the net, her head track coach Scott Winsor notices that she never worries about the person next to her.
â€œHer work ethic is tremendous,â€ Winsor said. â€œSheâ€™s the kind of athlete and kind of person you want on your team. Sheâ€™s a wonderful personality and a tremendous competitor.â€
After sheâ€™s done with throwing at Fresno State, Ayala has contemplated continuing her track and field career. She is considering going back to her native country to do so.
â€œI actually have been thinking about representing Mexico in the 2012 Olympics,â€ Ayala said. â€œI got a contract offer from them. Iâ€™ll be around, so hopefully all goes well.â€
Her throws coach spoke to Ayala about the possibility of competing in the London games while at practice this week. She is a strong supporter of her top thrower taking advantage of this opportunity.
â€œAbsolutely. Iâ€™m all for whomever she wants to represent,â€ Misipeka said. â€œWhether itâ€™s the United States or Mexico, itâ€™s nice to give back to the country that gave to you. So absolutely, I advocate that.â€