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As Perez prepares to go for gold at State, he’s thankful he was able to postpone surgery


Tony Perez is in the best shape of his life, at least thus far. The Nixa senior is so fit his father, Eagles assistant track coach Richard Perez, wonders if he could compete as a decathlete in college.

“I’m actually about the same weight I was last year,” Tony said. “But I’ve gained more muscle and leaned down. I’m in better shape, but the not best shape, yet.”

Perez has added muscle and has continued to stand out in the discus and shot put, despite a torn ACL. He won a COC championship and District title in the discus.

He suffered a torn ACL last fall during football season. The linebacker was sidelined for the last few games of his senior year.

But he’s been able to compete in track with few limitations. In addition to throwing the discus and shot put, he was a part of Nixa’s 4 x 100 relay this spring.

“It hasn’t bothered me much,” Perez said of his injured knee. I just have to be cautious. I can’t cut back and forth. Going in a straight line, though, I’m fine.”

It wasn’t a tough decision for Perez to put off surgery until the first week of June.

“A lot of (friends) thought I was going to have surgery right away,” he said. “But if I had surgery, I wouldn’t be having the season I am now and wouldn’t be seeing how well I’ve been competing. I wouldn’t have had a season and I really wanted to compete this year.”

Perez finished second at the Class 5 State Track Meet last year with a throw of 168-4 in the discus. It’s remained his personal record and a mark he’s chasing leading into this weekend’s State Meet.  

“I have a feeling it’s going to happen eventually,” Perez said of beating his PR. “I’ve been consistent at 164-165 pretty much the whole year. I haven’t gone up or down, just pretty much been in that area. 

“I’m working on some things,” he added. “We’re going to figure out what’s happening with my release. My release hasn’t been as great as it has been. Something with my hand is turning or just not going right, right before I release.”