Recent West Ranch graduate Natalie Ramirez is having herself a memorable summer in the throwing ring as she prepares for her upcoming freshman year at UCLA.
Ramirez dominated the Foothill League in girls discus and shot put in her four years at the high school level, and continues to make a name for herself on the national stage as she gets ready to start her college career at one of the top track and field programs in the country.
The soon-to-be Bruin has competed in qualifying events for the USATF Hershey National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships this summer, and on Wednesday and Thursday at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento, she took home top finishes in both the women’s shot put and discus at the national competition.
“This summer has mainly been about keeping my rhythm in the ring and adding strength. The Junior Olympics was a fun and competitive way to do that,” Ramirez said via text message. “I only competed in qualifying meets for the Junior Olympics. A lot of the reason I decided to compete this summer was to prepare for UCLA, I wanted to stay in tune with my technique.”
On Wednesday, Ramirez finished in fifth place in shot put with a high mark of 13.42 meters (44-1/2) on her fourth throw to reach the podium.
Thursday, she captured the gold medal in discus, recording a winning mark of 47.45m (155-8) on her first throw.
Ramirez had competed in the Junior Olympics multiple times, but never placed in the top eight until now.
Her personal record for shot put is 47-9 3/4, which she set on May 11 at the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 Finals. Her PR for discus is 163-2, which she accomplished in a dual meet against Hart back on March 14. Both throws ranked as the third-best marks in the state this year.
“I’ve had a great overall experience at the Junior Olympics this week. I did not reach the marks that I wanted to in either event, especially in shot put, but I am very happy to have reached the podium twice,” she said. “I loved meeting throwers from other states and talking about our stories.”
The win at the Junior Olympics was particularly sweet for Ramirez and for David Bultman, her throws coach at West Ranch.
The meet marked the last competition that Bultman would coach Ramirez, and a little more than a week ago, Bultman won the men’s discus competition in the 50-54 age group at the USATF National Masters Outdoor Championships at Iowa State University with a winning throw of 50.48m (165-7).
“This week was especially emotional because it was my last meet with coach Bultman. I’m glad we could go out as discus champions together,” Ramirez said. “Another main reason I wanted to compete was the fact that I wanted to spend this last summer with the West Ranch throwers and coach Bultman. It was like our last hurrah!”
With her high school career officially done, Ramirez is now focused on the task at hand, competing at the NCAA Division 1 level.
She will have some time off before the first day of classes begin on Sept. 23, and she might even give herself some time to rest, but then it’s back to the grind.
“Now that it is over, I will start my college training and maybe take a few weeks off of throwing before I start in September,” she said.