Sanchez's Dream Shines Through Adversity
May 6, 2010
If Sanchez could, she would take all of those 2,000 throws in one day just to become a better thrower. Sanchez appreciates her sport in a way that differs from most college athletes and for good reason.
The Bulldogs' star thrower fought through trials and tribulations on her road to finding success at the Division I level, and it started with a move to the United States in 2004.
"It never really crossed my mind to move to this country," Sanchez said. "To me it was like a dream come true. I never really expected it, but I am loving it now that I am here."
`Rosie,' as her friends affectionately call her, won the 2004 Central American and the Caribbean games for her native country and said it wasn't because she was the most prepared athlete in the field.
"Fortunately, I came in first place. That was my last big win in Mexico," Sanchez said. "I was happy with the result, but I knew that wasn't enough. It happened because of destiny, or something, I don't know. I wasn't well prepared for that competition. I didn't have a coach or physical preparation. It was just natural."
After winning the Central American and Caribbean games in 2004, Sanchez said that she and her family decided to more aggressively pursue her throwing ability and search for better competition. At the time, Sanchez' brother was living in Selma, Calif., and told her about the opportunity to compete for Selma High.
After weighing the options, Sanchez' parents decided that a move to the United States would be the best thing for their daughter's future.
"My parents and I made a big sacrifice so I could come here and start all over again and become a great athlete," Sanchez said.
Sanchez said that moving to the United States posed a lot of difficulties for her, like the language barrier, but the most difficult thing to overcome was leaving her hometown and leaving her extended family behind. She said she grew up knowing everyone in her town and didn't have an easy transition to her new life.
"It was tough for me," Sanchez said. "It was a totally different environment for me. I had to learn and grow, not only as an athlete, but as a person."
But Sanchez stuck it out and she eventually came to Selma High and was offered a scholarship to throw for the Bulldogs.
But tragedy struck at the end of her season year. Her father passed away in spring of 2007.
Sanchez said that after that passing of her father she had such a tough time leaving Selma to come to Fresno for school that fall.
"I have come through a lot, especially with my family. Leaving them all behind was tough. I had to adapt to that," Sanchez said.
The main way that she adapted to the void in her life and again uprooting for new opportunities was in the seven-foot shot put ring. Sanchez worked hard that offseason in preparation for her freshman season at Fresno State. During that season, Sanchez rose to second all-time on the Fresno State women's shot put record and competed in the NCAA Championships.
Her journey continued to prove to be a winding one, but Sanchez said she took it all in as an opportunity to learn and grow. And that attitude continues to be something she carries with her.
"It was a great year and I experienced a lot of great things, but it never stops," Sanchez said. "The next year I was learning even more things and this year I am learning even more. It's a process. It's life."
Sanchez invested much of herself into throwing in her freshman year and was poised to continue her success into 2009, but she lost her entire year to a serious ankle injury.
Sanchez hurt her ankle in the preseason and then again at the season's midpoint. The injury required surgery by the end of the season. Sanchez was devastated and went through one of the worst times of her life that year not only as an athlete, but as a person.
"There was a point where I felt like the loneliest person in the whole world," Sanchez said. "I can't describe how hard it was for me. But there is always that person who can pick you up and make you believe that everything is possible. Talking with my coaches, teammates, friends and my brother, they helped me realize that it's not over. Like my coach says, `Sometimes injuries are a blessing.'"
Spending that whole season injured forced Sanchez to reconsider her priorities in life. She leaned on friends and family to make it through the injury, but said that she knew she would come back with a new fire and a new hunger when she got back in the ring.
"I want to prove to my family, and anyone else, that anything is possible," Sanchez said. "I want them to see that no matter what happens, there is always a way to succeed."
When she completed her rehabilitation, Sanchez was excited to get back out in the ring. She now feels like 2010 has been a special season for her - one she in which she vales each of those 2,000 throws.
"Throwing again was the best feeling I had for a long time," Sanchez said. "I was hungry for success and to be out in the ring again competing against other athletes."
Rosie said that she has a few goals for the remainder of her career as a Bulldog: She wants to own the school record, to win the Western Athletic Conference championship and be ready to compete for Mexico in the 2012 Olympics.
It seems like so much for one person to accomplish. But Rosie Sanchez has proven that she isn't going to look back and ask, `What if?'
"No regrets, like they say. I want to live with no regrets," Sanchez said.
"We Are Your Team!" -- Follow the Bulldogs at www.gobulldogs.com as the team competes at the 2010 WAC Outdoor Championships in Ruston, La. from May 12-15, 2010.