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The jump from 4A to 5A was not so kind to the Mission High School Eagles this year. Because the tradition rich school barely made the cut for realignment a year ago, its athletic programs have had to compete against bigger schools who can draw from a larger pool of athletes for their teams. As a result, it has been an uphill battle in District 30-5A.
Despite being at such a disadvantage, the Eagles were still able to produce some solid teams as well as produce some outstanding athletes who made a name for themselves and their school by their athletic performances.
In the fall, cross country brought the school some quality recognition when the boys placed third at the district meet behind the outstanding distance running of senior Daniel Alfaro and Rod Santa Ana. Both runners finished the season as all-district performers and Alfaro was crowned the district champion for cross country.
Though the football and volleyball teams did not reach their post season goals, certain individuals stepped up and did their part. Senior wide receiver and kick returner George Nino was selected to the 30-5A first team offense as a slot back. Nino not only made plays as the inside receiver but also for returns on kicks and punts. The senior's exciting year started off quickly when he scored the Eagles first touchdown of the year on a punt return versus Edcouch-Elsa in the South Texas Classic.
While Nino was the only offensive selection, three defenders made the all-defensive first team. Two linebackers—junior Derek Villegas and senior Luis Villarreal—made the cut and senior Jose Balderas was recognized as well for his outstanding play at safety.
In volleyball, first year Head Coach Edna Clemens saw her girls compete well and ending district two spots out of a post season invitation. Clemens counted on first team all-district performer Gabriela Martinez and setter Bernise Ponce, an honorable mention honoree.
In the winter, the boys and girls basketball teams competed hard in a district where the powerhouses are established. Like volleyball, though neither team qualified for the post season, there was plenty to like. For the boys sophomore sensation Peter Arizpe not only made the second team for 30-5A but he also competed in the Valley Showcase in the spring. For the girls, junior Alexandra Cedillo made the first team all-district. With both players coming back, Mission basketball has a lot to look forward next winter.
Soccer, which runs from January to March and April, saw the boys and girls soccer teams produce numerous stars. The girls got a first team qualifier out of defender Brandy Sifuentes and second team qualifiers out of goalkeeper Jessica Lopez, midfielder Jannet Narvaez and forwards Vanessa Rodriguez and Brittny Madden.
The boys not only produced quality players but they also put together a very strong team that finished as runners-up in district. The team competed well with district champion Sharyland behind the play of forward Eduardo Davila, defensive stopper Rolando Garcia and goalkeeper Erasmo Vasquez. For his exceptionally strong play, Garcia was also named as the district's defensive player of the year.
Earning spots on the second team were forwards Cesar Ibanez and Mario Ledesma and midfielder Martin Torres.
The all-district teams for baseball have yet to be released, but the team showed the ability to compete well with the competition. Rick Lozano's ball club took fourth in district behind the powerhouses of Sharyland, McHi and La Joya. Lozano had superb play from Joe Esparza, Alex Quintero and Jahaziel Cantu. The team ended up losing to Laredo Alexander in bi-district.
As for softball, the girls had plenty of representatives on the all-district teams. Sophomore Elizabeth Elizondo made the first team all-district team as a utility player while freshman Gabrielle Castillo, junior Kassandra Garza and senior Alyna Garza made the second team. Elizondo averaged .510 in her batting and is one of seven strong players who will return to the field next year for Head Coach Iris Iglesias.
Running concurrently with the fielders were Daniel Alfaro and his teammates on the track and field team. Alfaro again shined on the track just as he did on the field in cross country, taking the district title in the 1600 meter run while placing second in the 3200. Alfaro's team, behind the coaching of David Munson, took third in the district. Junior Jesse Martinez accompanied Alfaro as a district champion, winning the 800 meter run. Other regional qualifiers were Gilbert Gonzalez, Richard Garcia, Edgar Garza and George Gonzalez of the 1600 relay. Also, Anthony Salinas and Jaime Tijerina qualified for regionals in the shot put and discuss throw, respectively.
Was it a tough 2010-11 for the Mission Eagles? Sure. But each team competed hard and both the school and the athletes can be proud of the outstanding individual performances of the Mission Eagles. Expect next year's Eagles to be ready for the competition.
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The 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.