Throughout the high school track and field season, Marina High thrower Alejandra Rosales had a busy schedule.
She could be seen at an invitational virtually every weekend, making 16 starts for the Vikings her junior year.
As if that were not enough, Rosales is also competing outside of the United States. Rosales’ parents, Henry and Erika, were born in El Salvador. Their daughter now represents their country of origin.
Rosales, who recently gained dual citizenship from El Salvador on June 6, has signed a paper that allows any marks she achieves abroad to also count toward the El Salvadorian record books.
After qualifying for the CIF Southern Section postseason in both girls’ shotput and discus throw in the Wave League finals on April 25, Rosales got her first taste of competition outside of the U.S.
She competed in the El Salvador national youth championships. The decision might have been considered an ill-advised one from a load management perspective, especially given the demanding, do-or-die nature of the CIF meets.
The scheduling worked out perfectly, however, as the El Salvador meet took place a week in advance of the CIF Division 1 prelims, and Rosales was able to approach it like she would a weekend invitational.
“We saw that the national games would be on a weekend,” Marina throws coach Mike Giron, who is also of El Salvadorian descent, said. “We kind of went, ‘Hey [Alejandra], let’s treat it like it’s a weekend invitational, but with the purpose of it being a tryout for El Salvador.’
“They had heard of her. They knew of her mark. They were excited about her, especially somebody so young to represent the country, but they still needed to get to know her.
“They just wanted to see that Alejandra wanted to do it.”
In El Salvador, Rosales had the privilege to work out with Cuban stars Denia Caballero and Yaime Perez, who were also training with their coaches – Hilda Elisa Ramos and Raul Calderon – at Estadio Jorge “Mágico” González.
“That’s just an unbelievable experience,” Giron said. “Even though she only competed on Saturday, we were able to train. We were able to go down there, and we were able to actually train in the national stadium, and she was blessed to be coached by the Cuban national coaches.
“Those two women are the two best [women’s discus throwers] in the world right now. One is the former world champion, the 2015 world champion (Caballero), and the other is the Diamond League champion (Perez).”
Upon her return to the U.S., Rosales uncorked her lifetime-best mark in the discus throw. She finished third in the Division 1 prelims with a mark of 143 feet, nine inches, an inspired performance after her first international experience.
“At CIF prelims, when I got my [personal record] with the 143-9, it’s now the national record over [in El Salvador] for under-20 and under-18.
“Hopefully, next year, I’m crossing my fingers that I beat the actual national record.”
The El Salvadorian national record for the women’s discus throw is 47.45 meters (155-6), which was set by Eva Dimas in 2001.
El Salvador hoped to have Rosales compete in the Youth U18 Central American Games, but it landed on the date of the CIF Masters Meet.
Rosales competed again for El Salvador in the North American, Central American and Caribbean U18 Games in Querétaro, Mexico this past weekend. She earned a silver medal in the girls’ discus throw with a mark of 41.91 meters (137-5).
Shanice Hutson of Barbados won the competition with a throw of 42.02 meters (137-8).
The Pan-American Games for those under the age of 20 are next for Rosales. The event will be held in San José, Costa Rica, from July 19-21.
Rosales appreciates that the El Salvadorian team has been understanding of her schedule and what she can handle. She wants to pull off the double duty of high school and international competition again next year.
“I’m fully committed to both,” Rosales said. “Once I signed, once I said I’m going to join both teams, then I’ve committed myself, and it’s my responsibility to do both.”
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