Friends and former area athletes leave mark at Texas State University
Friends and Texas State University teammates (from left) Danessa Lyssy, Chaz Laijas, and Kelsey Titzman gather for a group photo following the Western Athletic Conference Championships.
SAN MARCOS -- Of all the great athletes in high school, only a select few go on to compete at the college level. Once there, even fewer find the level of success they enjoyed in high school. But over at Texas State University, a trio of Wilson County athletes have continued their winning ways and are ending their collegiate careers with their heads held high.
Chaz Laijas and Kelsey Titzman of Poth High School, along with Danessa Lyssy of Floresville High School, will all leave their mark on Texas State as they move forward with their adult lives.
No one would have thought that the friends who played together in elementary school would be together again as members of the Bobcat track and field team, but that is exactly what happened. Chaz and Kelsey competed in the various throws, while Danessa represented Texas State in the heptathlon and pentathlon.
Chaz, a criminal justice major at Texas State, was a multi-sport athlete at Poth, where he competed as a member of the varsity football, basketball, powerlifting, and track teams. He was a two-time regional qualifier in the discus, and helped the Pirates to consecutive district titles.
In 2010, his first year as a Bobcat, Chaz had his best shot put, discus, and hammer throws at the Texas State Invitational. He went on to finish strong at the Southland Conference Outdoor Championships, finishing 12th and 13th in discus and hammer throw, respectively.
Chaz had gotten better by the 2011 season, and took home a fifth-place finish in the shot put at the Southland Conference Indoor Championship. He competed in the discus and hammer throws during the outdoor season and secured another fifth-place finish in the discus at the Trinity Invitational. He finished 10th in the hammer throw at the Michael Johnson Dr Pepper Classic, and was 12th in the hammer at the conference championship. He was also 15th in the discus at the Southland Conference Outdoor Championship.
During the 2012 indoor season, Chaz had three top-five finishes in the weight throw, including a third-place finish at the Texas 10 Team Invitational, and a fifth-place finish at the Southland Conference Championships.
The outdoor season brought more good results, as Chaz placed first in hammer throw at the TCU Invitational, was third in the Dr Pepper Classic, and was fourth at the Victor Lopez Classic and Texas Invitational meets. He finished seventh at the Southland Conference Championships.
In the weight throw, Chaz finished third at the TCU Invitational, came in fourth in the Victor Lopez Classic, and was fifth at the Texas Invitational.
During his senior season, the Bobcats made the leap to the Western Athletic Conference, and the competition was fierce. Still, Chaz excelled in the weight throw, picking up a fifth-place finish at the Texas A&M Invitational, and a sixth-place finish at the Texas Tech Open.
Chaz is ranked third all-time in the indoor weight throw at Texas State, and is 10th all-time in the hammer throw. He is currently ranked No. 3 in the hammer in the Western Athletic Conference.
Danessa, an agri-business management major with an emphasis in horticulture, competed in a multitude of events for the Bobcats in the pentathlon and heptathlon.
In high school, Danessa was a multi-sport athlete and four-time 100-meter hurdles district champion. She qualified for the state meet all four years in the hurdles, and also qualified for the state meet in the triple jump during her senior season.
During her freshman year at Texas State, Danessa made good showings at the Texas A&M Invitational, the New Mexico Classic, Trinity Classic, Texas State Invitational, and Southland Conference Indoor Championships. She was seventh in the heptathlon, 10th in the high jump, and 16th in the 100-meter hurdles at the conference outdoor championships. She finished 12th in the high jump during the indoor conference championships.
In 2011, Danessa competed in the pentathlon during the indoor season, finishing fifth at the New Mexico Classic and 10th at the Southland Conference Indoor Championships. She posted second-place finishes in the shot put at both the New Mexico Classic and the conference championship, and placed fifth in the high jump at the indoor conference championships.
Danessa was third in the shot put, tied for third in the high jump, and was fourth in the long jump to finish fourth overall in the heptathlon at the Southland Conference Outdoor Championship.
During the 2012 indoor season, Danessa finished third in the pentathlon at the Southland Conference Championship and was fourth in the high jump at the Tyson Invitational. She was sixth in the shot put at the Texas Tech Open, and timed a personal best in the 60-meter hurdles at the conference championship.
Danessa qualified for the first round of the NCAA championships in the high jump and has the ninth best jump in Texas State history.
In the 2012 outdoor season, Danessa finished second and set the school record for the heptathlon at the Southland Conference Outdoor Championships. In doing so, she finished first in the shot put, and recorded season-best efforts in the 200-meter dash, long jump, and high jump.
Danessa had another stellar year during the 2013 seasons, setting records and once again punching her ticket to the NCAA Championships in Oregon. Danessa was described by a coach as having proven to be “one of the best athletes in Texas State history.”
Danessa ends her Texas State career as a two-time Southland All-Conference member in the pentathlon and heptathlon, and played a major role in helping the women win the Indoor Western Athletic Conference Championship in February. Danessa holds the heptathlon school record, and has the second-best performance in the pentathlon.
In total, Danessa set five school records while at Texas State. She was also on the dean’s list and the Southland Conference Honor Roll.
As a Poth Pirette, Kelsey was a multi-sport athlete and made her mark in a variety of ways. On the field, she finished second at state in the discus, and was third in shot put for Poth. She also went to state and placed sixth as a freshman.
In 2010, her freshman season at Texas State, Kelsey had good showings in the shot put and weight throw at the Sooner Invitational, and had her season-best performance in the hammer throw at the Bobby Layne Classic. Her best finish was fourth in the discus at the Southland Conference Outdoor Championships. She finished 11th in the hammer throw and 14th in the shot put during the same event.
During the 2011 season, Kelsey was a sixth-place finisher in the shot put at the Southland Conference Indoor Championships. She finished 12th in the weight throw at the same meet, and turned in her best marks of the season during the Sooner Invitational.
Kelsey’s best discus throw of the outdoor season led to a seventh-place finish at the Bobby Layne Invitational, and her best shot put also led to a seventh-place finish at the Southland Conference Championships.
Kelsey had a strong showing in the hammer throw throughout the season. She finished the year with seven top-five finishes, including a win in the Texas State Invitational. She finished fourth in an early meet for her best throw of the year, and finished ninth at the conference outdoor championships, as well.
During the 2012 indoor season, Kelsey claimed the Southland Conference indoor shot put title and earned all-conference honors. She had a person best weight throw at the Houston Indoor meet, and finished eighth in the event at the conference indoor championships.
When the outdoor season rolled around, Kelsey finished first in shot put at the Bobcat Classic, and finished second at the conference meet. She finished third in shot put at the Dr Pepper Classic.
A fifth-place finish came her way in the discus at the Texas State Invitational, and she finished sixth at the conference championship.
Kelsey earned a pair of second-place finishes in the hammer throw at the Dr Pepper Classic and the Texas State Invitational. She finished in eighth place at the Southland Conference Championships.
Kelsey had a great year in 2013, and once again finished as the indoor conference champion in the shot put. She also finished third in the discus. Kelsey was named as the 2013 Indoor Field Athlete of the Year, as well as the 2013 Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year for the Western Athletic Conference.
Kelsey qualified for the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., and she made a great showing to finish ninth in the shot put. The top-10 national finish earned her Second Team All-American honors!
Among Bobcats, Kelsey ranks third all-time in the indoor shot put and fourth all-time in the outdoor shot put. She is currently the top-ranked shot putter in the Western Athletic Conference. Kelsey is graduating with a degree in biology.
There is no telling what lies in the future for these three former Wilson County athletes, but one thing remains certain, they are likely to find success no matter what the challenges ahead.