By Jennifer Contreras
Tiffany Gray, a thrower for Cal Poly Pomona’s track and field team, is living proof that it’s never too late to find your passion and dominate the field. Gray, a fourth-year kinesiology student, became a thrower while she attended El Dorado High School.
During her time at El Dorado, Gray got into throwing by accident. One of her physical education teachers told her she didn’t belong in P.E. and encouraged her to join basketball.
After basketball season had ended, Gray had to keep moving on with sports.
“I had to find another sport to join, so my coach told me I should be a thrower and I said ‘Okay,'” said Gray.
At El Dorado, she qualified for the CIF playoffs three times and even had a sixth place finish in shot put during her junior year.
Once Gray graduated from El Dorado, she took her skills and passion for track and field to Cerritos College.
During her time there, Gray managed to finish in sixth place in discus her sophomore year. She also finished sixth in both shot put and discus her freshman year. At Cerritos, Gray was part of the women’s team that won the State Championship.
Although different schools scouted Gray, she decided to continue her education at CPP and became a Bronco.
During her first year at Cal Poly Pomona, Gray achieved a number of accolades. She secured a conference title in the shot put event, received All West Region honors, ranked second in the discus and moved to the sixth spot on the Broncos’ all-time leaderboard in shot put.
“I feel like a lot of work has gone into training, not just this year, but leading up to my senior year, and all that put together has helped me,” said Gray.
This season, Gray has improved on her performance from last season. She improved her mark to 47-3.5, which is now third all time in Broncos history and the longest since 1995. Gray also earned a ‘B’ provisional mark for that throw.
Head track and field coach Octavious Gillespie-Bennett describes Gray as a great teammate and a leader amongst all the throwers, who always leads by example.
“I see great things in the future for Tiffany,” said Gillespie-Bennett.”She is very hard working and pays attention to detail.I believe that she will achieve her goal of being an All-American shot putter.”
However, it’s not just Gillespie-Bennett that sees great potential in Gray. Her best friend and teammate, fourth-year sociology student Kelsey Parrish, describes Gray as a leader.
“She’s supportive, encouraging and always positive,” said Parrish.
Parrish believes Gray has more to offer than just great throwing skills.
“She has been a huge addition to our team with her positive attitude and thoughtfulness,” said Parrish. “She takes care of all of us and she’s a really good cook. Not only am I lucky to have her as a teammate, but also a best friend.”
Although Gray’s eligibility will end before she is done with her degree, she plans to continue helping her teammates in any way she can.
“I think sports definitely teach you a lot about life,” said Gray. “I know that track and field might be a temporary thing, and although I would love to continue it, the lessons I’ve learned not only apply to track and field but also to life.
“I feel that I am a better person because I got involved in sports; I now know what it’s like to have drive and goals. I can’t imagine my life without throwing. I feel like it has done so much for me. It’s part of who I am now.”
Gray hopes to qualify for nationals this year, and wants to keep working everyday to improve on and off the field.
Tom Zasadzinski / Cal Poly Pomona
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