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Gilpin, Patriots ready to achieve something special

20131101 Football RioGrande vs VMHS lg-20Coach David Gilpin is expecting something special this year. Something that has not only eluded him as a head coach but every Veterans Memorial High School football team that has ever taken to the gridiron – a second round playoff win.

Breaking into the third round of the state playoffs has been one of Gilpin’s goals long before his quarterback took his first snap from center this season ­– a goal that he is determined to see his Patriots achieve this year.

“Our first goal is always to win a district championship,” explained Gilpin. “However after our loss to Edcouch, we knew that wasn’t going to happen. So we set our sights on making the playoffs first, but our ultimate goal of getting past the second round has not changed.”

“We’re no longer going to be satisfied with playing a ranked team tough but still losing in the first or second round,” added Gilpin. “We’ve done that before but as I keep preaching to my players, the time has come for us to win those games and we’re not going to settle for anything less. For us to accomplish something special this year it will have to be something we’ve never done before and a second round win is what it’s going to take.”


Lady Patriots Move Up in State Playoffs

20131112-VMHS-v-Floresville-Playoff-Volleyball- dy-002They were in an unfamiliar position – the Lady Patriots hadn’t had to play five sets all year long, but the season came down to the final set that is played to 15 points rather than the usual 25.

Floresville had seemed like easy pickings after the opening 25-10 score, but the same team that had bounced the Lady Patriots last year came roaring back with a second set 19-25 win. The two teams traded the next two sets, setting up the emotional and crucial final set.

With the backing of a large and very noisy crowd of Veterans Memorial fans who made the trip to Alice, Coach Diana Lerma talked to her charges.

“We are a young team with a lot of sophomores and freshmen” she said after the game. “They wanted to cry and I asked them what they were crying about – the game’s not over yet. We can still win it and its going to go to the team that wants it the most.” With that, the Lady Patriots went to their go-to girls, sophomore Gabby Lerma, senior Shania Gilpin, freshman setter D. D. Ibarra and senior Kassy Lopez. It seemed they would take the final set easily when they took an 8-4 lead, but after the Lady Jaguars took a time out, the score tightened again. At 13-12, the Lady Patriots finished it off, including another score by Ibarra.


Lady Patriots advance, Lady Rattlers upset

20131102 Volleyball LosFresnos vs VMHS lg-10As the state’s No. 1 and the nation’s No. 14 ranked volleyball team, the Veterans Memorial High School (VMHS) Lady Patriots Tuesday took the first of six steps to bring a state championship home to VMHS for the first time in school history. That first step was winning their opening round playoff game against Corpus Christi Moody Tuesday evening.

Step 2 will be their area round game against the Victoria West Lady Warriors at Bishop High School tomorrow. The game time was not available as of press time.

With the straight sets win against Moody, the Lady Patriots improved their overall record this season to 40-0. Having won all but two of those games in straight sets is one indicator of how dominant Coach Diana Lerma’s squad has been all season. Another is that several of those wins were against 5A teams, including their 25-11, 25-16 and 25-23 warm-up game victory over the 15-1 Los Fresnos Lady Falcons last Saturday.


VMHS Boys Cross Country team advances to state

20131106 CrossCountry VeteransMemorial Boys lg-1The Veterans Memorial High School (VMHS) boys cross country team has been making history a lot lately. Two weeks ago, they became the first boys cross country team in the school’s 10 year history to win a district championship.

Coach William Proctor’s team advanced to the regional meet in San Antonio last week where they became the first VMHS cross country team to win a regional championship and earn one of 12 highly coveted spots at the state meet in Round Rock tomorrow.

As the VMHS boys cross country coach for all but the first two years of the school’s existence, Proctor is now seeing his runners’ hard work pay off.


La Joya teacher completes half Ironman

20131030 Esmeralda Chavez Triathlete Iron Man JB 2909“Being realistic is the most common path to mediocrity.”

This motto has become the daily creed for La Joya physical education (P.E.) teacher Esmeralda Chavez. Over the past two and a half years she has quit living her life realistically and began living it in a way even she never imagined would ever be possible.

With her weight having reached nearly 300 pounds Chavez knew she needed to make changes in her life. Changes that would not only help her get healthier and feel better about herself but that would also allow her to be a better example to her students at the Thelma Salinas Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Early College High School in La Joya.

Participating in a 5K and reuniting with an old friend through a social media site were what it took to start Chavez on the path to a lifestyle change. The results: She has lost 96 pounds since July 2010 and just this past weeked she competed in and completed the Austin 70.3 half iron man competition.


Lady Rattlers and Lady Patriots prepare for playoffs

20131019-VMHS-v-Mission-Volleyball dy-002Having earned their respective district championships, the Veterans Memorial Lady Patriots and the Sharyland Lady Rattlers volleyball teams are both preparing for the bi-district round of the playoffs next week. The Mission Lady Eagles could be the third of the Big 6 teams to qualify for post-season play but the final playoff spot will be decided in a one-game playoff to break their fourth-place tie with the Mercedes Lady Tigers at 5:30 p.m. today.

VMHS Lady Patriots

As the state’s No. 1 ranked and the country’s No. 14 ranked team, the Lady Patriots breezed through their 16 game district schedule. They are not only undefeated but have won all their games in straight sets. In total Coach Diana Lerma’s squad has won 37 games in a row this year making it the most successful season the Lady Patriots have ever had.


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