PHARR – It came down to the wire, as expected, with the Lady SaberCats topping the field at the District 31-6A track meet Saturday. A victory in the 4x400 relay, following a second in the 4x200 and a gold in the sprint relay, helped Coach Diana Romero’s contingent to the victory, but just barely over a strong effort from EHS.

The rivals traded gold all day, with Olivia Garcia (100 hurdles), Sophia Ramirez (200), Jaida Muhammad (400), and Dylann Guerra (800) all placing first for Vela. Guerra made a terrific push to come from behind in the last 40 yards, while Muhammad competed with a leg injury but still brought the title home as the anchor in the clinching relay.

The Lady Bobcats worked like champs for Coach Alicia Ramirez as strong-legged Yesenia Valdez paced the 100 field while Marissa Arce gutted out the gold in the 300 hurdles and finished the school’s winning 4x200 effort in style.

Econ had hung tough through Day One but faded a bit on Saturday, while North got a pair of records from Beth Ramos and a sharp second in the 100 from Savannah Arguello.

The city boys claimed five first-place performances Saturday, including Vela’s surprise in the 4x200 relay. But Econ was the standout as the Jags took the 4x400 and both hurdles races. Bony Rios (100) and Edgar Vazquez (300) were equal to the league challenge, while Kyle Marroquin used a superb late kick to finish first in the 400. Marroquin also came second to teammate Rios in the 100 hurdles while EHS sprinter Alex Lopez steamed to second in the 100, at 11.22.

Team-wise, Raul Salas’ North boys’ bunch finished with a quality third-place mark.

FIELD EVENTS AND SUCH

The big success story from Day One was Econ’s lean, mean machine Monique Rodriguez, who steamed through the field for a trio of first-place finishes, in the triple, long, and high jumps. North, with a record run by Ramos in the 3200, and Vela – Estrella Zamorano winning the shot put – made sure that the girls’ standings were tight as a drum after the field events.

Solid seconds went to EHS runner Vianney Sanchez in the 3200, Emily Zamora of Vela in the discus, and Ramirez of the Lady SaberCats in the high jump.

On the boys’ side, five gold medals were gained by city athletes, with the two-fer coming from massive Gaston Cortina of North, who swept in the shot and discus. Winners also included Gus Vazquez of Econ in the triple, teammate Pete Segura in the high jump, and pole-vaulter Rylan Olguin of Vela. Segura also came with the silver in the long jump while fellow Jag Boxer Gomez was a runner-up in the discus. North jumper George Molina took second in the high.

The distance runners of North were solid as usual, with junior Tristan Pena and seniors Aldo Nava and Josh Doria going 2-3-4 in the 3200. Coach Hector Martinez and the Coogs seem to have a tree hidden somewhere on campus that keeps producing quality runners.

“They are all working hard, they’re veterans and they know what is expected,” said Martinez of his Big 3. “And the thing is, Tristan is back next year and we have another junior, Juan [Santana-Chairrez] who is very capable also. They tend to come in cycles.”

Martinez, who has been one of the city’s track gurus for decades, notes that while his distance guys are very competitive, they also have a good team ethos this season.

“They have been able to give and take, be generous,” he said. “Because you can only run three in one event. One guy will let another have his spot because he knows he’ll get his opportunities down the line.”

Saturday the North vets finished 2-3-4 in the 1600, as Pena, Doria, and Nava moved on to area, April 20 in Weslaco,

More North news: hurdler Justin Guerra, also an excellent football player, is close to making an agreement to run for a Christian college up in Kansas. Teammate Cortina is also a college athlete in waiting, for sure. Guerra ran a solid second in the long hurdles Saturday.