Huckabay High School senior, Levi Dowell, has thrown his way into the UIL state track and field meet in shot put. Dowell will head to Austin for the state meet on Friday, May 15, to compete against Texas’ best shot put athletes.
While at regionals, Dowell threw the shot put 43’ 11.5”, earning him second place and qualifying him for a spot at state.
Dowell is the first male student in Huckabay’s history to compete at the state level in track and field.
“I’m pretty excited about it,” he said. “Huckabay has never had a guy go to state in track in anything, ever.”
The 1A school is most known for its role in Texas high school basketball. Huckabay lacks a track and a shot put ring, and even a shot put for that matter, so Dowell has an old cannon ball he uses to practice with. The makeshift shot put is two pounds heavier and three inches wider than a standard shot put.
“I guess practicing with a heavier ball gives me a little advantage, but the width is a little different,” said Dowell. “I didn’t have the resources to learn proper technique, so I kind of developed my own drop step and throw. There was some criticism from other schools, but it’s working.”
Dowell said he practices a couple days a week.
Earlier in the season, he half-jokingly made some deals with his coach.
“I told my coach that if I placed in the top three than I don’t have to wear those skimpy tack shorts next time,” he said. “Sure enough I placed second."
He soon made another deal that if he made it to state, he would get his picture in the school's trophy case.
“I placed second at every meet I’ve been in except district, where I placed first,” he said.
Having his picture in the trophy case at Huckabay High School hits home for Dowell. Everyone in his family has attended the school and that it’s a family tradition. Dowell’s school pride is evident in his humility.
“My family has always gone to Huckabay and so walking through everything was like a trip down memory lane,” he said. “The fact that I know that my ability of throwing shot is going to represent Huckabay hits home for sure. I’m excited about it because I know I’m going to represent my school. It’s humbling knowing that the reputation of Huckabay is going to be on me at state, on my jersey. I don’t want any personal recognition. I want recognition for my school. It means the world to me.”
Dowell ended Tuesday's interview by thanking his father.
“I would like to give a shout out to my dad, Bill Dowell, because in the beginning of track season, we knew we didn't have the proper facilities but he wasn’t discouraged. Without his positive influence, I wouldn’t have looked at it as I did.”
After high school Dowell plans to attend Navarro College, then become a firefighter.