By Ray Hamill/Times-Standard
Angelo Flores came to the College of the Redwoods to play football. He’ll leave there a state champion.
Last weekend, the Portland, Ore., native capped a standout freshman year as a Corsair by clinching the state title in the men’s javelin, the first time a CR athlete has achieved such a feat in 23 years and only the third time ever.
But for anyone who has been following Flores’ exploits this spring, that achievement was no surprise.
In his first season with the track and field team, Flores set a school record with a throw of 206 feet, 11 inches at the Stanford Invitational, a mark that was not just the best in community college sports in California this year, but the second best in the nation.
And for Flores and CR, it almost never happened.
Flores came to CR last summer because, he says, a friend convinced him to come and try out for the football team.
He played nine games at tight end for Redwoods, making 16 catches for 116 yards.
The best, however, was yet to come for the freshman, and after hearing about his background in track and field, CR track coach Reed Elmore approached him about competing in the spring.
It didn’t take Elmore long to realize he had unearthed a highly competitive and talented athlete.
“He has a great attitude,” Elmore said. “He’s always in the weight room or working on his throws. He does what he needs to do. And he’s confident.”
For Flores, his first year at CR has been one he won’t easily forget, and certainly not what he first thought it would be.
“It’s been great,” he said. “I was skeptical at first, living away from home and in the dorms, but it was a great experience all year.”
Flores says he intends to return to CR in the fall for another year in both football and track, and is looking forward to seeing how much better he can be as a sophomore.
“I will be back at the state championships,” he said. “You can count on that.”
The Oregon native also has a close friendship with his teammates, including fellow javelin thrower J.W. Dauth, who got one over on Flores the week before the state championships.
After competing together all spring, they took the top two spots in the NorCal championships, but this time it was Dauth who unexpectedly had the better mark.
“Me and him, we’re best buds,” Flores said. “He’d been kind of tagging along behind me all season. He had some problems with his form. But then he got to step into the limelight. I’m super proud of him. It was great for him.”
Flores, however, had the final say over one of his closest friends and competitors when the two of them traveled to Bakersfield for the state meet last weekend, placing first with a throw of 193.3 feet.
“It was the experience of a lifetime,” Flores said. “The energy there was incredible.”
Dauth, who had been battling some lingering injuries, placed 11th.
Their coach, however, has no doubt the two athletes benefit each other when it comes to competing.
“I think they’ve got a bro-mance,” Elmore joked. “They’re funny together. They’re jokers. But they push each other in track and in everything, in a good way though.”