Eunice thrower Colborn works way to state in three events
By Tom Mulherin
It was a harmless act, and just about everyone was doing it.
As the Eunice senior class anxiously awaited the upcoming graduation, its members threw together the annual “senior skip day” plans to cut class and go do something fun as a group. This year’s adventure was an April 18 trip to Carlsbad to soak up the sun and go swim on a Wednesday at Lake Carlsbad.
But while the majority of the school’s impending graduates arranged to go as part of a seemingly no-brainer decision, Lady Cardinals track and field athlete Kyla Colborn had pause.
Many thought about the opportunity to skip class as a group, but Colborn thought about how it would impact the Loving meet later that week instead. Her classmates were concerned with how they could cut loose, but Colborn was concerned with improving her marks to compete in all three throwing events at the state tournament.
In the end, she made a competitor’s decision.
“I wanted to be at practice,” Colborn said. “I thought maybe not (go) because we had a track meet on Friday and it was Wednesday. … They just went and swam in the lake. I felt like, if I was here, it would also mean a lot more to everybody else around me too, set a good example.”
Success comes at a price, and Colborn has never been shy to pay it.
Ever since she discovered how good she was at the discus in middle school, the senior has dedicated a lot of her time toward throwing events.
Colborn bought her own equipment. She is the first one to and last one out of practice. She even worked on technique outside of practice during the summer and over the weekends, and with her mother being a former throwing athlete back in her heyday, the two were able to get excited about the sport together.
Now, six years since she started, Colborn is set to compete in the discus, shot put and javelin today at the Class 3A state meet as Eunice looks to win the championship for a third straight year.
Colborn is having a lot of fun with it, too, and her coaches love watching the process.
“I’m not talking just to talk, Kyla is a very, very hard worker,” said Eunice track and field head coach Gabe Gaytan. “She’s always trying to improve. … She’s not going to preach she’s satisfied with her throws. If she doesn’t like her throws for some reason or another, she’s the very first one to be disappointed in herself. She works hard.”
The senior may be good at what she does, but by no means has her path been easy or short.
Throwing the discus was Colborn’s first love. It came to her so naturally, and as she worked on her form, she got to the point where she excelled to reach state in the event for each of the past three years. She even won it last year with a throw of 108 feet, eight inches.
Of course, with one throwing event comes the other two, though. The shot and javelin didn’t come as easily, so much to the point where she didn’t even throw the javelin at all. State qualifying mark this year for the javelin is 103 feet, and she wasn’t coming close to that before.
So, she just worked at the shot with much more of the same work ethic she adopted with the discus, kind of ignoring javelin all together. Meet after meet showed gradual improvement, and last year, she finally qualified for state before throwing a dud in the preliminaries. Colborn didn’t even get to the finals.
But that sparked more of the process, and in the meantime, she realized that working at the javelin – which she admits she wasn’t good at – would only help her team if she could get more points alongside other throwing stud Aide Frazier.
“She hated the javelin when I first started coaching two years ago,” Gaytan said. “She did not want to throw it, kept saying she was not good at it, she just didn’t want to work in the javelin. And then last year, she realized we needed those points.
“This year, she says, ‘Coach, I’m qualifying in the javelin.’ That’s one of the biggest improvements she’s made. … That’s how hard she works. And she’s very coachable too, which is a big plus.”
Well, that determination and drive has provided dividends. Colborn sits third in the state entering the championships, and even won the event in the District 4-3A meet along with the discus.
For her to finally qualify in all three throwing events by distance this year, well, that’s a huge testament to that hard work. And it means a lot to her to accomplish such feats, too.
“It’s incredible because it’s just hard work paying off, honestly,” Colborn said. “I remember when I was in junior high when I first started throwing. … I got so into it that I bought my own disc, bought my own shot, went out on the weekends and during the summer so just all I was doing was throwing. Just spending as much time as I could out there, and now it’s paying off in these later years of high school.
“It just comes all together, it’s satisfying. I know it’s going to be the rest of my life, is hard work and hopefully having it pay off. This is just the first taste of it, and it’s amazing.”
When looking back, her decision to miss out on skipping class for that one practice probably didn’t have much of an impact. Colborn says it helped her stay locked in, though, and she didn’t want to get out of her rhythm.
That mindset is what has helped her reach state in three throwing events. And now she has a good chance at winning all three, with her biggest competitor perhaps being her own teammate in Frazier.
Not a bad deal at all.