For four seasons she raced from one sideline to the other, ranging up and back with grace and force, and making perfect sets for various and sundry EHS hitters. Simply one of the best there has ever been, Dezi Marmolejo capped her senior volleyball season with MVP honors from District 31-6A and second team All-Area accolades.

Marmolejo, who became the team leader the moment she stepped on the court as a freshman, was a highlight reel in motion with superb timing, excellent physical skills, and unparalleled competitive fire. Her likes will seldom be seen again.

Another city product, Vela’s great Jaida Muhammad, was named to the first All-Area team and also made the 31-6A first unit. Teammates Julissa Cuellar and Bianca Cortez also took honors, the former as co-Outstanding Setter and the latter as Outstanding Blocker, and Coach Araceli Ortega was tabbed as Coach of the Year in 31-6A. EHS senior Elizabeth Olivarez was named Outstanding Libero.

First team All-District picks included Muhammad, North’s Itzamar Rios, junior Tianna Howard of EHS, and sophomore Dylann Guerra of Vela.



Vela, after a 9-win season in 2016, was happy to hear the news last week from the Texas AP Sports Writers, as two of their defensive stars were accorded All-State honors.

Senior Adrian Acosta, who made 100 tackles and five interceptions, was a second-team pick, while junior Nick Enriquez, who led the Valley with 196 stops, was honorable mention. The pair was among 15 Valley athletes who made the honor team.



UTSA played in its first ever bowl game over the weekend in New Mexico with four Valley alums on the roster, two from town. North grad David Anzaldua, now at 6-5, 345 and playing guard, made the trip with the Roadrunners to take on New Mexico in Albuquerque, and Vela’s Ronnie Benavidez, now a junior, was a roster member for the squad as a DB. Anzaldua redshirted in 2014, played in four games last season for UTSA, and had seen action in 11 of the team’s 12 contests heading to the bowl.

Other Valley exes on the 2016 team included Harlingen QB Brandon Garza and Edcouch-Elsa DL Juan Rodriguez.



His brother once played in the game, and now North senior Adrian Ortiz is following in Vince’s footsteps. The hard-hitting defender has been picked for the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl in Oakland, Calif., to be played Jan. 21 and televised by ESPN.

A three-year contributor to the Cougar charge, the 185-pound Ortiz made 59 tackles and a pair of sacks this season for the playoff-bound North unit. His brother Vince was an All-Valley defender who played ball for McMurry in Abilene and is now studying to become an athletic trainer.

The Ortiz Clan held a fundraising barbecue last weekend and will continue to seek to collect the money needed for trip expenses. Interested parties are directed to Katherine Ortiz, RPA, at 313-8530. The family has also set a gofundme site to solicit donations.