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“Tink” Caines dominating for Memorial while he eyes state title, collegiate stardom at Lamar

When Memorial’s Tre’Vonte “Tink” Caines threw the shot put 57.6 feet, which leads all Texas 5A competitors, he had already surpassed his best throw from last season. Now Caines, who owns the school records for discus and shot put throws, has his eyes set on a state title.

“I think his furthest throw last year was 56 feet,” head coach Darrell Granger said. “Once you continue to warm up and the weather warms up, he will get even better. He is still gliding, but he has been working on the spin. Once he gets the spin down, I think he can throw that thing 60 feet.”

While the nickname “Tink,” which was given to him by an uncle when he was younger, might suggest small, the 5’11, 270-pound defensive tackle is anything but.

Caines said he is working on his technique to get the most out of his throws.

“It is a lot of hard work,” he said. “You really have to put your mind to it. You put your mind to anything and anything is possible. I look at my role as the one who sets the tempo. I go out first and get the meet going. If I come and do what I have to do, that sets everyone up for us to win the track meet.”

Caines’ hard work has paid off. He recently accepted an offer to play football next season at Lamar University.

While he has college football goals, Caines is locked in on the track season with one goal in mind.

“We want to go to state,” he said. “If everyone keeps working and stays hungry and on the same page, we will be good.”

Granger said Caines is a model student-athlete.

“Since Tink arrived here in the ninth grade, he has been competing on the varsity track team,” Granger said. “Every year, he has improved. Last year, we didn’t have the whole season. I was looking forward to seeing what he can do last season, but he has just taken off again this season with his personal best.”

Granger holds his players to a high standard. To say that winning state is at the top of his list of goals each year is an understatement.

Memorial has three of the top 10 fastest high school 4×100-meter relay times in the school’s history.

“You have to work really hard to be successful,” Granger said. “Our kids have to understand that to take us where we need to go. We have the potential. We have to be locked in and focused. You also have to be trustworthy, and we have fallen short with some of our kids. Our kids have to understand that.”

Granger said Caines represents what the program should be.

“He is a great kid that you want to be around,” Granger said. “He says ‘yes, sir,’ and takes care of the things he needs to. I was proud of him for getting a football scholarship. I told him that when he goes to Lamar, he should throw the shot and be part of that track program because he has the ability to help them out. He is a kid that I hate to see leave.”

“This year, I am really proud of him in the discus,” Granger said. “That is what he has made the biggest stride in. Last year, he was throwing 115 (feet). This year, he is throwing 145. That can take him to, at least, regionals in the discus, but we all know which one is his baby.”

While his strength might be unmatched in the state, Caines admitted that a fish did get the better of him last year.

He was fishing with his uncle when he hooked a 5-foot gar.

“I was fighting it,” he said. “My uncle came and took the pole and pulled it in. It was really my fish because I hooked him. I wasn’t mad he grabbed the pole at all because I was tired. I was fighting it for about 10 minutes and just gave up. I told him ‘you got it.’”

Caines and the rest of the Memorial squad will compete at the PAM Relays in Port Arthur at 10 a.m. Friday.