T&F: Ashley takes ninth in discus at World Champs
T&F's Greg Garza to coach at IAAF World Champs
Greg Garza named Track and Field assistant coach
Bio entering 2016-17 season
Greg Garza, a three-time All-American and two-time Olympic Trials competitor in the discus throw, enters his fifth season at San Diego State as an assistant coach and throws coach. Garza was named the assistant on Oct. 4, 2012 and recently added director of operations to his title.
Last year (2015-16), the team finished the season in a 20th-place tie with Michigan, the program’s fourth top-25 effort over the last five seasons. The Aztecs finished second at both the indoor and outdoor conference meet.
Garza coached Rachel Alesi and Alexa Evans to second-team All-America honors after the duo took ninth and 12th, respectively, in the discus at the NCAA Championships. Evans made the nine-person final with a best mark of 178 feet, 4 inches (54.36m), while Alesi’s top throw was 175-11 (53.62m). The pair, who also earned all-conference honors (Alesi in the shot put and Evans in the discus throw) qualified for the national meet after finishing fourth and eighth at the NCAA West Prelims.
Meanwhile, Freja Liljedahl set the school record in the hammer throw at the Trojan Invitational with a best of 187 feet, 11 inches (57.27 meters), eclipsing Whitney Ashley’s previous best of 187-06 (57.14m). Ashley was a member of Team USA at the Rio Olympics and was the NCAA champion in the discus throw in 2012.
Garza helped the Aztecs finish third at both the indoor and outdoor MW championships in 2015. Under his direction, Jasmine Burrell qualified for the NCAA West Prelims in the shot put and discus throw, and Alexa Evans made it in the discus. Burrell earned all-MW accolades in the indoor weight throw and the outdoor shot put, while Evans was an all-league pick in the outdoor discus.
In 2014, Garza was instrumental in SDSU winning its second straight MW outdoor title and finishing in the top 25 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships for a third straight year.
Garza helped Burrell qualify for the NCAA Championships for the first time, taking 18th in the discus throw. Burrell also made the NCAA West Prelims in both the shot put and discus throw.
Burrell was named all-MW in both events at the MW Outdoor Championships after finishing second in the discus and third in the shot. Burrell ended up as a two-time MW Athlete of the Week in 2014, while setting school record in the indoor weight throw (68-01.00), and logging all-time top-10 outdoor bests in the shot (third) and discus (fourth).
In his first season in 2013, Garza helped the Aztecs claim both the indoor and outdoor title at the Mountain West Championships. It was SDSU's first-ever indoor championship and second outdoor title and first since 2003.
Garza coached two MW champions and four all-MW performers in his first year on The Mesa. Burrell won the shot put at the indoor championships and was third in the weight throw and then won the discus throw at the outdoor meet. Brittany Bozeman, meanwhile, came in third in the javelin at the outdoor meet.
Garza came to The Mesa after spending the previous two years as an assistant throws coach with the U.S. Olympic Training Center in nearby Chula Vista. Under the direction of throwing coach legend Art Venegas, Garza helped coach a pair of throwers who qualified for the London Olympics in Jessica Cosby (hammer) and Jared Rome (discus), as well as Jeremy Campbell, a paralympic discus thrower who owns the world record in the event. He also spent the same two years as the strength and conditioning coach at Shadow Hills High School.
Garza has also been a director and head coach of the Flying Elephant Throwing Clinic (2011), a volunteer assistant coach with national power UCLA (2007-09) and a camp coach and clinician at UCLA (2004-09).
Prior to getting into coaching, Garza excelled at UCLA under Venegas as a three-time All-American and three-time Pac-10 (now Pac-12) champion in the discus throw. A captain his senior year with the Bruins, Garza was a four-time NCAA national championship competitor and two-time NCAA West Regional runner-up. Over his career, Garza twice qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials and was a two-time participant at the U.S. Track & Field Championships. Garza's mark of 211 feet, 8 inches in the discus ranks second all-time at UCLA. He also owns personal bests of 188-3 in the javelin and 57-2 in the shot put.
Garza earned a bachelor's degree in history for UCLA in 2008.