SIERRA VISTA — When javelin was introduced in Arizona high school athletics two years ago, Jesse Avina was one of the few to give it a try.
The Buena High School senior has committed to throwing the javelin for at least two more years at Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix.
Avina first joined the Buena track team as a junior with the hopes of becoming faster for football. It was at an open javelin tryout that he picked up the object for the first time.
“It’s like throwing a spear, which is cool,” he said. “It’s not very known in Arizona and me doing it is letting people at Buena know what (javelin) is.”
In his first track season, Avina finished 9th in the state in javelin and two weeks into this season he qualified for the state meet once again. However, the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) announced Monday they are canceling the remainder of the spring season. Avina said it’s “heartbreaking” that he won’t be able to try and best his ninth place finish from last year.
“Jesse is a committed athlete that definitely will grow mentally and physically to his potential at the next level,” said Buena sprinters coach Joe Swift. “Jesse is a natural learner. He has the same success in football as he did in javelin. It’s his gift.”
Avina played on the Colts’ varsity football team for two years and was a key component in this season’s team making the postseason.
“I am excited for Jesse to continue on with his education and have the opportunity to compete at the college level,” Buena football coach Joe Thomas said. “He is a good young man and wish him the best in life.”
Avina had offers to play football at the next level but after some consideration he chose to stick with the javelin.
“I thought it would be the best route to go, mentally and physically,” Avina said about choosing javelin over football. “It’s less of a toll on the body.”
After finishing at Paradise Valley, he intends to earn his bachelor’s degree and hopes to join the Air Force as an officer.