ATASCADERO — Atascadero’s Deandra Tyler signed her National Letter of Intent to join the UC Irvine track team as a thrower on Thursday, Nov. 21. Tyler advanced to the CIF Central Section championships for the Greyhounds a year ago and has been the top girl’s thrower in orange and grey since her sophomore year.
“It is amazing,” Tyler said. “I never expected to be here or to go to Irvine and I picked them because when I went on my college visit the vibe was amazing and I felt like I could belong there. Academically it is a great school because I want to do nursing and I can accomplish that if I go there.”
Tyler specializes in the shot put but is also excellent in the discus and finished third in both at the Mountain League championships while setting her personal best at 119 feet and 7 inches.
The senior set her personal best in the shot put in each of the last three meets she entered last season with her furthest throw being 40-8 at the Valley championships which placed her fourth overall. Her best discus throw came the week before the Valley championships when she hit 119-8.
With still a full season ahead of her, Tyler has reset her goals as she looks to not only make it back to the Valley championships but advance all the way to the state meet.
“By the end of track, I want to hopefully be throwing a 43 or 44 in the shot put,” Tyler said. “And for discus like 125.”
From her sophomore year to her junior year, Tyler added more than nine feet to her shot put total and more than 20 feet to her discus and if she were to add that to her already impressive marks she will take home a pair of Mountain League titles as Paso Robles’ Kimberly Buchanan won both last year as a senior for the Bearcats.
While Tyler might be far away from home she will not be alone as she will be the third Greyhound to join the UC Irvine track team in the past four years and will join another great Atascadero thrower in Brianna Villanueva who finished 12th at the Masters Meet in 2016 in high school and earned All-Big West honors in her junior season last year in the Mountain West after finishing third in both the hammer and the discus.
The Anteaters also swooped up one of the Hounds top girls distance runners last year when Claire Livengood who made it to state as an individual in 2018 and as a team when she was a freshman.