Kings Point, NY -- Wilfredo De Jesus, assistant coach of men's and women's track and field at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, qualified to compete on the Puerto Rican National Team this past weekend at Puerto Rican Nationals.
De Jesus, who works mainly with throwers on the Kings Point track and field teams, is a world class athlete in his own right. He's held the Puerto Rican National Record in the Weight Throw since 2007 and was crowned Puerto Rican Hammer Throw Champion from 2009-2011.
This past weekend, he was runner-up at the Puerto Rican National Games competing in the Hammer Throw with a toss of 56.59 meters; qualifying De Jesus to represent Puerto Rico at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games July 5-7 in Michoacan, Mexico.
"Making the team again really means the world to me," said De
Jesus. "I have been working diligently with my coaches to get
back to the international level."
De Jesus has been a part of the National Team regularly since 2004, but an illness in 2012 kept him from competing.
"This year has been a special one for me, being sick last year took me completely out of the running for any competition," continued De Jesus. "Thanks to the effort of many people I have been able to once again get back to the international level and start making strides towards moving into the world elite level. I would like to send a special shout out to Coach [Greg] Lott (USMMA's Head Track & Field Coach), for helping me get back on my feet after I was ill last year."
De Jesus' best throw of the season travelled a staggering 61.29 meters. Although this distance (which was set a few weeks ago) was enough to qualify for CAC, he needed to participate in the national games to become eligible.
In addition to De Jesus' responsibilities as a track and field coach, he also volunteers his time organizing Merchant Marine's weightlifting club, fervently contributing to the strength and conditioning of midshipmen.
"The same passion I share with my athletes I put forth into my own athletics," said De Jesus. "Since I have been at the academy I have taken the weightlifting club as part of my giving back to the Kings Point community. I was given a great opportunity through competition to grow as an individual and I find it extremely rewarding to give back and help other young men and women to find their way."