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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

San Juan high schooler wins gold in discus throw at Penn Relays

Nathan Villegas Reyes’ winning discus throw at the Penn Relays was over a half-meter longer than the second-place throw.

By The Star Staff

Nathan Villegas Reyes won a gold medal in the discus with a throw of 62.49 meters (about 205 feet) at the 127th edition of the Penn Relays track & field competition held late last week at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.

The teen athlete, a student at University Gardens High School in San Juan, punched his ticket to represent the island in the high school boys division at the historic athletic event after launching the longest throw in the qualifiers held by the Department of Recreation and Sports’ (DRD) “School Sports” program.

“Seeing the success of young sports prospects fills us with more enthusiasm to continue offering them the most complete sports programming,” DRD Secretary Ray Quiñones Vázquez said in a written communication. “I congratulate Nathan and the other young men who are representing us at the Penn Relays and urge them to continue their sporting careers with a firm step. At the DRD we will always be there to help them fulfill their dreams.”

Villegas Reyes emphasized the significance of his achievement, especially when last year he tried to qualify and almost failed. “This triumph represents a new stage in my life,” he said. “I never thought it would go this far! It was a good experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life.”

He was quick to thank his family, his coach Jimmy Velázquez and the DRD School Sports program for the opportunity to represent the island.

In the javelin throw, Diego Vázquez Dávila, a student at Eugenio Guerra Cruz High School in Salinas, stood out by reaching the final round.

This is the second consecutive year that Puerto Rico has had a presence at the Penn Relays, which are held on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. This time around, 25 male and female students represented the island in the discus and javelin throws, 4X100 and 4X400 relay, long jump and distance running.

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