SALINAS - Hartnell College sophomore Pablo Villasenor III joined De'Antae Choates as the second Panther to sign with an NCAA Division I track & field program during the pandemic. Villasenor, a graduate of Gonzales High School, will compete in the throwing events for San Jose State.
Villasenor entered Hartnell College as a two-sport athlete playing football for the Panthers in the fall then transitioning into the throws in the winter. Despite having high school bests of over 50 feet in the shot put and 146 feet in the discus, this gave him limited time to prepare for the collegiate outdoor season. He would have only two months to consistently train with the heavier implements as they moved from 12 to 16 pounds in the shot put and 1.6kg to 2.0kg in the discus. Villasenor would also have less time to learn a new event, the hammer throw. Villasenor used his limited preparation time effectively and in his first ocmpetition immediately moved himself on the all-time top 20 performers in school history in the hammer. Villasenor would qualify to the Northern California Championship as well before the pandemic suspended competition for the remainder of the spring.
The pandemic changed not the just the course of history for spring competition but also for Villasenor's career. He would have only three countable competitions on his track & field resume unlike the full schedule of football games from the fall. During the next eleven months, Villasenor was consistent with his work and utilized social media to highlight how he was learning as a thrower. He posted videos of his weight room work, throwing shot put in his front yard, and practicing hammer in the fields. This consistency of effort caught the eye of the coaching staff at San Jose State University. Villasenor was offered a Division I track & field scholarship having only thrown the collegiate implements just three times but his passion and potential was evident.
(Christopher Zepeda, Hartnell College Track and Field)