Though it doesn’t usually get the coverage that some other spring sports receive, wrestling appears to be gaining popularity in recent years. Case in point would the excellent performance by area athletes at the District 16-6A meet, where EHS won the boys’ team title and Vela had a number of individual accolades. Bobcats Genaro Escamilla (152 pounds) and Ramon Lopez (138) won first in their weight class while Vela’s Robby Silva aced the field at 132. Other top places went to Josh Alaniz at 170 and Alberto Alcala (182); they are both Vela wrestlers.
North went fifth as a girls’ team, EHS seventh; Hannah Martinez of the Lady Coogs won the 148-pound division, edging out Lady ‘Cat Maria Rangel. Econ had a champ at the meet, Dulce Arena (185 pounds).
VELA BOYS TOP WINTER RELAYS FIELD
The first official track action came off over the weekend, with the Vela boys taking team honors at the Winter Relays in Pharr.
The SaberCats battled with Pioneer and Harlingen and came out first, paced by a win in the pole vault by senior Rylan Olguin, who set a meet record with a 15-3. The relay teams were competitive throughout, scoring points in all races, including second in the distance medley. Noah Rivera was second in the high jump, Felix Hernandez third in the discus.
The girls came in sixth overall at Pharr with a title in the sprint relay and a silver medal in the sprint medley. The 4x100 team had real balance class-wise, with senor Sophia Ramirez, junior Gaby Solis, sophomore Danya Selber, and freshman Monica Garza breaking the tape in 51.62. Solis also came second in the 100-meter hurdles, Bella Villarreal second in the high jump.
GONZALEZ TAKES REINS AT NORTH
The wait is over for North as the battle for head football coach was decided after a series of delays. Former offensive line coach Damien Gonzalez is the man, returning to the sport after a successful sojourn as baseball coach. Gonzalez, a member of the Cougar district champ team of 1992, is fast at work organizing a staff and getting the athletes ready for the spring. He did a stint as offensive coordinator under former coach Roy Garza, and led the Coog baseball team to consistent playoff experience in seven seasons at the helm.
NORTH GIRLS TIE FOR FIRST AS BIG GAME LOOMS
In soccer action Friday, Econ suffered its first loss of the season, dropping a penalty kicks decision to Southwest. The Lady Jags beat Southwest for their second victory in 31-6A. In the Bobcat-Cougar rivalry series, the girls of North defeated EHS 1-0 to remain unbeaten heading into a showdown with Memorial Tuesday with the top spot on the line.
The EHS boys topped North, 1-0 to rise to 3-2 (nine points) in league play, while Vela beat Pharr North 7-0 in a girls’ match, the SaberCat boys ending up on the short end of a 4-1 score against the Raiders. In the Lady Sabes’ smashing victory, freshman Taylor Campbell notched a hat trick and senior Ayssa Arevalo found the net before leaving the game with a leg bruise; she is expected to be ready to go for the team’s important road fixture at P-SJ-A Tuesday, as the Lady Sabes seek to solidify their hold on a playoff spot.
North and Memorial are tied for first with Vela and then P-SJ-A 3-4 in the standings.