It didn’t start out so well, but things are really looking up right now for the Lady Jags, as Coach Brenda Lozano has helped her team overcome a series of hiccups to become the odds-on favorite to be at the top of the heap when the district meet rolls around next week.

Lozano had her troops at the Meet of Champs last weekend in Weslaco, and though the girls did not score any major victories outside of Brittany Cantu in the throws, Econ has surprised some observers consistently in 2018.

“We’re excited, and it has at times been sort of tough,” said Lozano, mentioning an early season-ending injury to sprinter Priscilla Vela and the continuing battle against illness by point-eater Monique Rodriguez, who missed the Champs. “We’ve overcome some issues because the girls have worked hard, they haven’t fallen apart during all this.”

Cantu was third at Weslaco in both the shot and discus, and Lozano says that the senior athlete – who has weathered her own injury troubles over the past 18 months – is being looked at by UTRGV track and field.

“She really has worked hard to come back and we are so proud of her,” said Lozano, who noted that Cantu is a highly rated academic star as well. “Right now, she’s our star and we can count on her to perform very well each time.”

The coach lauded her staff, a tight crew that is totally invested in the kids and the sport.

“That, and the girls have just found it in themselves to compete, and to excel,” she commented, adding that several kids, including Kim Talamantez in the relays, have been pleasant surprises.

The Vela girls did not have a tremendous meet at Weslaco, but senior Sophia Ramirez did stride her way to a fourth-place finish in the 200, while Lili Perez had a third in the 800, Bella Villarreal fourth in the high jump. The other city kid to place in the top six for the girls was Bri Sanchez of EHS, sixth in the shot.

The top boys’ performers were Econ’s Pete Segura, who won the high jump with a 6-5 leap, and Vela’s Tristan Pena, who ran second in the 3200 and third in the 1600. Jaguar Kyle Marroquin was third in the 100-meter hurdles and the school’s 4x2 relay unit got third as well.

Other boys doing well at Weslaco: Eddie Guzman of Vela, fifth in the quarter; teammate Victor Segovia, fourth in the triple jump; and Segura again, with a fourth-place effort in the long jump.

Felix Hernandez of Vela finished fifth in the discus, after coming third in the prelims on Day One. SaberCat Jeremy Nino ran sixth in the 3200, after being third in prelims, and teammate Noah Trevino was fifth in the high jump final.