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Wed - Partly Cloudy. High: 91 Low: 77
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Rattlers to face Longhorns in hoops playoffs

20140211 basketball boys shs vs ljhs lg-10In a season filled with challenges, such as the loss of head coach David Keith due to health issues, the Sharyland Rattlers basketball team has risen to the occasion putting together a 14-2 record and qualifying for the state playoffs.

With Keith recovering from brain surgery at M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston earlier this week, the Rene Gonzalez led Rattlers closed out their district schedule with a 66-44 victory over the La Joya Coyotes Tuesday evening and are preparing for their upcoming bi-district playoff game against the Laredo United Longhorns Monday.

While having to deal with such adversity might cause other teams to lose their focus and struggle to maintain a high level of play, Rattlers players such as guard Jesse Pistokache have have found inspiration and a spiritual awakening in the way their coach has dealt with his all-too-serious health concerns.

Read more: Rattlers to face Longhorns in hoops playoffs


Lady Rattler divers advance to state

20140211 Diving Girls Sharyland lg-02Don’t tell Sharyland’s Sandra Valdez that freshmen aren’t supposed to be this good. You just might have an argument on your hands.

The freshman Lady Rattler is the 2014 District 30-5A and Region 8-5A girls’ 1 meter diving champion – a level of success few divers ever achieve.

Lady Rattler head diving coach Leslie Ortiz Richardson explains, it could very well be her gymnastics background that has helped Valdez excel in diving, and with so little experience.

“She’s a very natural diver,” said Richardson. “I think that her gymnastics background has a lot to do with that…. Any diver that has a background in gymnastics benefits greatly. She’s very particular about how she dives and how she practices. She strives to get the most out of her practices and it didn’t take long for me to see that she had a lot of potential if I pushed her enough.”

Read more: Lady Rattler divers advance to state


Wrestlers ready to rumble at state

20140207 Wrestling Alyssa-Salinas featureSoft-spoken and weighing in at less than 100 pounds, it’s hard to picture Leslie Oliva as a wrestler, let alone a regional champ.

The sophomore at Lincoln-Juarez High School had never been involved in sports before signing up for wrestling as a freshman, thinking it would be like boxing.

“I thought it was going to be less work, but now I’m in shape,” Oliva said. “It’s good. I’m healthier. I’m giving it all I’ve got.”

Oliva is one of four regional champs in the area, and the 95-pounder is preparing for the state tournament next weekend in Garland. She credits team captain Danae Sanchez for helping motivate her and get her into shape.

Sanchez, herself a regional champ in the 148-pound weight class, ended up wrestling because of a mistake in her schedule her freshmen year. Her original plan had been to play volleyball, soccer and track. But naturally competitive, Sanchez quickly picked up the sport. She also has three older brothers, one of whom was once a wrestler for Palmview.

Read more: Wrestlers ready to rumble at state


Fourteen local wrestlers among state’s best

20140207 Wrestling PrismaHernandezThe best of the best high school wrestlers from across the state of Texas will be competing at the University Interscholastic League (UIL) State Wrestling Meet in Garland, Texas next week. Among them will be 14 local boys and girls. All of whom earned the right to take to the mats against the state’s elite by finishing amongst the top four in each of their respective weight classes at the UIL Region IV 4A and 5A wrestling meets last week.

While each of the Big 6 schools qualified at least one wrestler for the state meet, La Joya Juarez-Lincoln tops the list in total number of state qualifiers with four and in number of regional champions with two. In addition, two Huskies boys will be making the trip to the Dallas area as alternates as a result of their fifth place finishes at the regional meet.

The two Juarez-Lincoln regional champions are Leslie Oliva (95 lbs.) and Danae Sanchez (148 lbs.). Mayra Becerra will be joining her Lady Huskies teammates in Garland as a result of her third place finish in the 110-lb. weight class. This will be Sanchez’s second trip to the state meet as she earned the silver medal last year.

Read more: Fourteen local wrestlers among state’s best


Lady Patriots make playoffs, settle tie Friday

20140204 basketball girls psjasw vs vmhs lg-15According to the regular schedule, the Sharyland Lady Rattlers and the Veterans Memorial Lady Patriots basketball teams’ regular seasons are both supposed to be over. They both played their final district games of the season Tuesday evening and depending on how their seasons went they were each supposed to be either preparing for next week’s Bi-district round of the playoffs or looking forward to next year. As things have played out for both teams however, neither of those is the case.

As a result of their loss to Edinburg Vela Tuesday evening, the Lady Rattlers ended the regular season in a three-way tie for third place with Edinburg Economedes and Donna. Only the top four teams qualify for the playoffs, so one of those three teams will be on the outside looking in when post-season play starts next week. Which two teams will play on will be determined on the basketball court this weekend.

Lady Rattlers’ head coach Dale Whitaker explained, “We met with Economedes and Donna and all three coaches flipped a coin at the same time to determine the order in which we’d play each other to break the tie. As it turned out, we will be playing Economedes Thursday evening at 7 at Juarez-Lincoln High School. The winner of that game will then play Donna Friday evening at 7 at Juarez-Lincoln. If Donna wins that game they will be the third seed and the winner of Thursday’s game will be the fourth seed. If Donna loses that game however then they will have to play the loser of Thursday’s game with the winner being the fourth seed.”

Read more: Lady Patriots make playoffs, settle tie Friday


It’s all in the family for Lady Eagles

20140128 Soccer MHS Clemons Family lg-01When it comes to the Mission High School girls’ soccer team, it’s all in the family. With Aaron Clemons as the head coach, his wife Edna Clemons as his assistant and their daughter Cassie Clemons as a Lady Eagles’ star player, there’s no doubt about that.

While having a husband and wife coaching team at the high school level is somewhat of a unique situation, it certainly seems to be working for the Lady Eagles. This was definitely the case last year when Clemons’ squad breezed through an undefeated district season followed by a district, bi-district, area and sectional championship.

So how did this family-friendly scenario come to be? It started with Coach Aaron Clemons returning to his alma-matter where he once starred on the football field.

“I played football for the Eagles and I went on to play at Tarkio College in Missouri,” said Clemons. “After working in the prison system for 10 years, I was hired here as a freshman football coach and I thought I was going to be the boys junior varsity soccer coach. However, that position was filled so I became the girls’ JV soccer coach for one year before becoming an assistant to head girls’ coach, Oscar Ortiz, for three years. I then became the Lady Eagles head coach five years ago.”

Read more: It’s all in the family for Lady Eagles


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