Suffolk native with skill to throw

Published 9:59 pm Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Raquel Vazquez, a second-grade student at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, has enjoyed a strong AAU indoor track season for the Virginia Trailblazers.

Suffolk native Raquel Vazquez placed second in the shot put with a personal record throw of 16 feet, 11 inches, and placed fifth in the long jump with a mark of 9 feet, 3 inches, at the national indoor championships in Maryland. Vazquez has placed first in numerous events throughout her outdoor season.

Raquel is a Suffolk native who currently competes for the Virginia Trailblazers, a non-profit track AAU team. With the indoor season just wrapping up and outdoor starting, Raquel is going into the outdoor season with some momentum.

She recently competed in the eighth annual indoor series at the Boo Williams Sportsplex, where she won a trophy for most points attained in the 7- and 8-year-old girls’ division. Aside from the trophy, she won six gold and two silver medals throughout the series. Throughout the indoor season, she has also participated in two independent meets, in which she received additional gold medals and a silver medal.

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Raquel also participated in the National Championships that were held in Maryland earlier this month. There, she placed second in the shotput with a personal record of 16 feet, 11 inches. She also placed fifth in the long jump with a distance of 9 feet, 3 inches, just short of her personal record of 9 feet, 11 inches. The Suffolk native’s strengths are currently in field events such as the shot put, long jump and turbo javelin.

“She had a goal to throw 16 at Maryland, and she ended up throwing over that,” said Rachel Vazquez, Raquel’s mother. “We were like, ‘Wow.’ We were surprised she was a thrower, but that’s her pride and joy.”

Raquel inherited some of her talent. Her parents competed in track in high school, with her mother specializing in the 400-meter dash and her father doing the long jump.

Her favorite event to compete in right now is the turbo javelin throw, which is an outdoor event. Last year at the Primary National Championships, held at the Disney’s ESPN Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla., she set a meet record of 36 feet, 6 inches.

She still gets recognized for that alone. There were parents and runners who recognized her solely from her performance at Florida when she participated in Maryland a couple of weeks ago.

“We are looking forward to how she does in the outdoor season,” Rachel Vazquez said. “She is very skilled, and we are very proud of her. We are excited, and we always take it event by event when she competes. She sets her goals and works hard to reach them. With each year that goes by, she gets better and consistently competes with the top performers. She doesn’t boast or brag. She does her thing and go on to the next event.”