Heading into the start of the track and field postseason, it appears that the boys from Econ have the best shot at gaining a team title at the district meet, to be held Thursday and Saturday at P-SJ-A Stadium.
The Jags are ranked fourth overall in the latest Valley Mythical standings, with strong jumpers and hurdlers, plus a gutty 4x400 relay contingent. Pete Segura, first in the long jump at 22-7 and tied for fourth in the high jump (6-2) leads the charge for the Jags. Gus Vazquez (first in the triple jump at 45-5 and fifth in the long) gives the team a solid chance for multiple field events point, while veteran hurdler Bony Rios is ranked second in the 110-meter hurdles.
North comes tenth in the Mythicals as a team, largely on the merits of No. 1 shot put thrower Gaston Cortina, who leads the Valley at 59-0. Other Coogs among the leaders include Tristan Pena, fourth in the 1600 meters and third in the 3200, plus Aldo Nava and fellow strider Josh Doria.
One competitor who will test the North distance guys at district is Cruz Gomez of P-SJ-A Memorial, who is particularly fine in the 3200 meters at 9:20.30. Cortina of North will face off with P-SJ-A Southwest’s Diego Trevino, a distant second in the shot Mythicals. Segura’s main long jump adversary is Oscar Cantu of P-SJ-A, whose best leap is 22-6.5. Vazquez of the Jags will need to keep an eye on No. 3 triple jumper Marco Guajardo of the Bears.
Pole-vaulter Rylan Olguin of Vela, No. 2 in the Valley at 15-0, should be a safe bet to win district in the event, and should anticipate a mammoth battle against Harlingen South’s Marcus Ramirez (15-6) in area.
At the district meet, girls’ bracket, the distances will give the city the top chance for multiple success stories. Beth Ramos of North and Vianney Sanchez of EHS head a terrific group of runners, as the former has the No. 1 time in the 3200 this season (11:04.08), second in the 1600, and the latter is a threat to win at 1600 and 3200.
Vela has top hopefuls in Jaida Muhammad (quarter mile), Emily Zamora (discus), and the pair of Olivia Garcia and Gaby Solis in the hurdles. Zamora is a seasoned athlete who started slowly this year before rounding into form. For EHS, Marissa Arce has a top 6 time in the long hurdles while Econ’s best bet for the weekend should be Monique Rodriguez, ranked second in the triple jump at 36-9.75.
This is not an exceedingly strong season in the Tri Cities, as far as the girls are concerned, which means that one or more of the Edinburg schools have a real shot at taking a team district title. EHS has a handful of quality point-scorers while Vela’s overall depth should put the squad in contention for the title.
PITCH NEWS: NORTH ADVANCES, JAGS STOPPED
Elias Moran and the Coogs got it done Friday, beating Laredo LBJ out in Zapata to advance to the third round of the state playoffs. Econ battled at Richard R. Flores Stadium, coming from behind to give Juarez-Lincoln a scare before dropping a 4-2 decision to end its season.
North, by virtue of its 1-0 win over the Wolves, advances to the regional quarterfinals where it will take on Brownsville Rivera. The Raiders, who won the state championship in 2015, have a solid club this year, but nowhere near the overall talent level from two seasons back. They defeated Pharr North in bi-district and Laredo Alexander in area to reach the regional quarterfinals.
The winner of the North-Rivera showdown will get a shot at the regional tourney against either San Antonio Clark or San Antonio Jay. Clark lost its first game of the year but has since gone 22 games without a loss. The Cougars avenged their loss, to Reagan, in the playoffs with an area-round victory last week, beating the Rattlers, 2-0. Clark beat Jay twice in district and will be favored to advance.
On another soccer note, the Rivera girls’ team that upset Econ in bi-district kept it going in area with a win over Eagle Pass. Rivera is now in the regional quarters against Los Fresnos, which beat North in bi-district. The other Valley girls’ matchup pits McAllen against the Harlingen South club that defeated Vela in bi-district.
This season has been excellent for the city boys as Econ claimed a bi-district win and North now has two. From 2011 to 2016, Edinburg schools had been just 1-14 in the playoffs, North’s 2014 victory against Laredo United in 2014 as the only breakthrough. That season the Coogs were beaten by Rivera in the second round, 5-2, and the Raiders went on to the regional final before losing to Brownsville rival Lopez.
In the past seven seasons, North has lost to Lopez, Porter, and Brownsville Vets twice in the first round, once against Rivera in the aforementioned area tussle of 2014.