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Forecast:
Wed - Partly Cloudy/Wind. High: 100 Low: 79
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Ashley Smith named U.S.A. Junior National

20140530 Basketball Girls VMHS vs Roma lg-31Veterans Memorial High School sophomore Ashley Smith has been selected to participate in the U.S.A. Junior Nationals basketball program. As a result, she will be traveling to Columbus, Ohio as a member of a statewide, all-star team to compete in a five-day tournament against teams from across the country.

As part of the U.S. Basketball Program, the U.S.A. Junior Nationals program began in Atlanta, Georgia in 1980. Since then it has provided high school basketball players from across the nation, as well as Canada, Mexico, Russia, Japan and Europe, the opportunity to improve on their fundamental techniques through competition and to be seen by college coaches who may be looking for players to offer scholarships.

As George Blue, assistant office administrator for the U.S. Basketball Program, explained they are not necessarily targeting athletes that are good enough to play for Division I schools. Instead, they are hoping to attract those players who have the potential of playing at the Division II, Division III and NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) level but may otherwise be overlooked by collegiate coaches.

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Lady Patriots’ Alexandria Gonzalez honored

20140520 Alexandria Gonzalez Medals lg-01With only 15 girls from across the state being selected, the Texas Girls Coaches Association’s (TGCA’s) Track and Field All-Star Team is a very select group. That’s 15 girls from all the 4A and 5A schools in the Lone Star State. Of this year’s honorees only one is from the Rio Grande Valley – Veterans Memorial High School’s Alexandria Gonzalez.

Having been nominated by the Lady Patriots head track coach Kathy Howell, Gonzalez met all the criteria established by TGCA. Criteria included being a high school senior, excelling as a track and field athlete and excelling academically. All-Stars were then selected in two divisions: 1A-2A-3A and 4A-5A.

Gonzalez is the only member of the VMHS track and field team that Howell has ever nominated for the honor, as she is the first that has met all the criteria.

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Felipe Valencia takes gold at state

20140513 Gold Medals Galvan Salinas lg-01Palmview High’s Felipe Valencia set a new gold standard at the UIL State Track and Field Meet in Austin last week. For the second year in a row, Valencia earned a gold medal in the state 5A shot put competition.

As the defending gold medal winner in the event, Valencia is now the only two-time track and field state champion in La Joya Independent School District history. Prior to his winning the gold last year, it had been 45 years since then La Joya High junior Noe Hernandez brought the gold home in the 880-yard dash.

“Winning back-to-back state championships and making history at La Joya means a lot me,” said Valencia. “It means even more because all my family was there to support me.”

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Guillermo Galvan named best in state

20140513 Gold Medals Galvan Salinas lg-04As a two-event UIL State Track and Field qualifier, Veterans Memorial’s Guillermo Galvan earned the right to compete at the state meet last weekend in both the shot put and the discus. He won regional championships in both events at the Region IV-4A meet. Having never qualified for the state meet before, Galvan had no expectations of taking the gold in either event.

“Going into the state meet my goal was never to be a state champion,” said Galvan. “I was just going into the meet trying to do my personal best by setting a new PR and perhaps beat out a couple of people for a second place or a third place finish.”

“As the competition started, my mindset was ready,” added Galvan. “I had my sights set on Anthony Dudley (the favorite) and I was determined to put the pressure on him from the very beginning.”

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Lobos sweep Area, keep on rolling

20140510 Baseball Palmvew vs PSJA lg-49In a game that started last Friday at 7 p.m. and ended Saturday at 10:15 p.m., the Palmview Lobos defeated the Pharr San-Juan Alamo Bears 5-4 to take the best-of-three Area Round baseball playoff series two games to none. Coach Manuel “Ricky” Garcia’s Lobos have now advanced to the Regional Quarterfinal round of the state playoffs where they will be going up against Laredo Alexander in a one game, winner-take-all playoff tonight at 8 p.m. at Coyote Field in Alice.

The game, which began as scheduled Friday evening, was suspended due to lightning with two outs in the top of the first inning and the Bears having a 1-0 lead. Play was resumed Saturday at 4 p.m. with game 3, if necessary, to be played 30 minutes after the completion of game 2. As unusual as it was to have a game suspended one day and resumed the next, it was just the beginning for what turned out to be a game to remember.

Palmview’s Ezekiel “Mookie” Huaracha started game 2 after Chris Rocha completely dominated the Bears in the series opener 2-0. In that game, Rocha struck out 12 of the 22 batters he faced while walking one and allowing only one hit. As a result, he faced only one batter more than the minimum. While Huaracha may not have pitched as dominantly as Rocha did in game 1, he kept the Lobos in the game and left in the top of the 10th with the score tied at 4-4.

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Two Mission athletes compete at state meet

20140506 Guillermo Galvan Tony Salinas lg-05 featureVeterans Memorial’s Guillermo Galvan and Mission High’s Tony Salinas made a statement at the Region IV-4A track and field meet in Heroes Stadium in San Antonio two weeks ago. They walked away with the gold and silver medals in both the shot put and the discus. With the top two throwers in both events coming from Mission schools, they left no doubt as to where the best throwing programs in the region, and possibly in the state, are located.

As Galvan and Salinas stood side-by-side atop the winners’ podium in San Antonio, they must’ve had that Deja vu feeling all over again. The two high school seniors have gone up against each other and taken first and second place in both events many times before, ever since Mission High School (MHS) joined Veterans Memorial High School (VMHS) in District 32-4A two years ago.

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CoverageAreaThe Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.

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