The Econ girls blazed to their first district track and field championship ever at P-SJ-A last weekend, getting seven gold medals along the way to outdistancing second-place Vela.

Jumper Monique Rodriguez won three events for the Lady Jags and thrower Brittany Cantu claimed two, while the sprint and 4x2 relay squads also came home first for Coach Brenda Lozano.

The Lady SaberCats saw junior Lili Perez sweep the distance events for three golds, Sophia Ramirez stomp the field in the 200 meters, and junior Gabby Solis get tops in the 100 hurdles. Vela’s 4x4 relay won the meet and for EHS, Nat Martinez was first in the high jump.

On the boys’ side, Vela was the pace-setter as a team, helped by titles from Noah Trevino in the high jump and Felix Hernandez in the discus. The Econ boys got the winner in both hurdles race (Kyle Marroquin), and copped the sprint relay crown, while North’s Tristan Pena captured gold in the 3200 and 1600 races. Gus Vazquez of Econ also pulled a double gold, winning the long and triple jumps.

The slender glider Pena of North battled with rival Cruz Gomez of P-SJ-A Memorial, and bested the muscular Gomez with a new strategy.

“I waited on his hip for most of the race and then kicked at the last 150 to take it,” said Pena of the exciting 3200 final at P-SJ-A Stadium. “Normally, I have been out in front and then he would come on at the end, but this time I did that. He has been winning maybe 75 percent of the time, so to be able to beat him twice is a nice accomplishment for me.”

For Vela’s Perez, it was a banner meet, and the hard-charging junior, pound for pound The Toughest Girl in Town, is ready for area, which comes in a week and a half.

“It’s hard for me to say which is my favorite race,” said Perez, whose determination and intensity are second to none, along with her impressive work ethic. “The 800 comes faster while the other races, especially the 3200, gives you more time to work. Can I make it to regionals in all three? Well, I’ve done it before so I hope I can do it again.”

Lady Sabe Ramirez, the team leader as one of the few seniors on a roster stacked with underclassmen, has established herself as the Queen of Kick, churning up the track with her lengthy strides meet after meet. Perhaps her finest effort at district came in a race Vela did not win. She made up loads of ground from a deep hole in the sprint relay, putting a scare into the Econ girls before settling for second.

Speaking of the relays, Econ has gotten ample excellence from a number of kids, including Briana Mitchell and Karla Gonzalez, two summer track veterans who helped push the squad to the team title at Pharr. Charlene Garcia – advancing in two relays and the triple jump – has also been a consistent threat in 2018.

Though it has not been a standout campaign for North, the girls did a solid job at district, getting Isabella Garcia on to area in the 1600 and 3200 and pairs in sprints and hurdles: Evana Ramos and Savannah Arguello moved on in the quarter while Priscilla Sanchez and Angel Taylor qualified in the 100-meter hurdles.

Roel de Leon of North carved out an area berth with a third-place run in the 110-meter hurdles and Juan Garcia of EHS will go on the 1600 and 3200.

NOTES: The North boys shot their way to the District 31-6A title in golf, with Vela third, while the EHS girls were champs at Pharr. First-place individuals included Ethan Galvan of EHS and teammate Beatriz Chavez while Andrea Saenz of North was second in the girls’ tourney.

Jayla Santa Maria of EHS was named the Monitor’s All-Area Player of the Year recently, with sister Jenessas and teammate Mercedes Hernandez each making the second team.