Athletically speaking, the 2013-14 school year was one to remember for both Mission high schools. With an individual state championship, team district, bi-district and area championships, and one team holding the No. 1 state ranking for over 12 weeks, Veterans Memorial High School (VMHS) and Mission High School (MHS) teams and athletes achieved excellence in a wide variety of sports.
With the Patriots and the Eagles competing in the same district for the second year in a row, the two schools’ teams oftentimes found themselves going head-to-head for district titles or playoff berths. In some sports the Patriots got the better of the Eagles, but in others it was the Eagles that rose to the occasion and bettered the Patriots.
With a friendly rivalry between the two schools both schools’ athletes looked forward to facing off against their cross-town rivals every chance they got. With that in mind, here are the VMHS and MHS top 10 sports achievements of the year:
#1 – Guillermo Galvan takes state championship
As regional champion in both events, VMHS’ Guillermo Galvan advanced to state in the shot put and discus at the UIL State Track and Field Meet this year. Having never qualified for the state meet before, Galvan had no expectations of winning a gold medal. Nevertheless, he bettered the field in the shot put and brought the first-ever state gold medal home to VMHS with a throw of 56 feet ½ inch. In the discus, Galvan placed sixth at state with his best throw of 165 feet 1 inch.
#2 – Lady Patriots volleyball team
After going undefeated and earning the District 32-4A championship, Coach Diana Lerma’s VMHS Lady Patriots went on to earn bi-district, area and regional quarterfinal championships before falling in the regional semi-final (Sweet 16) round to Cedar Park. In total, VMHS went 42-1, stood atop the state 4A volleyball rankings for over 12 weeks in a row and was ranked as high as #11 in the nation among all high school teams. The Lady Patriots were recently named the RGV Sports Hall of Fame’s Sub 5A Girls Team of the Year and Lerma was named the Sub 5A Girls Coach of the Year. Lady Patriot Shania Gilpin was named to the First Team All-State volleyball team.
#3 – Lady Eagles soccer team
With a 7-1 district record, Coach Aaron Clemons’ Lady Eagles soccer team earned its second District 61-4A championship in a row. The Lady Eagles went on to win bi-district, area and sectional championships before falling to Gregory Portland in the regional quarterfinals. Clemons received the district’s Coach of the Year honor, while Angie Briones was named Co-Offensive MVP and Cassie Clemons was named Defensive MVP and to the All-Valley Second Team.
#4 – Patriots boys cross country team
Coach William Proctor’s VMHS boys cross country team had a historical season. Not only did they become the first in school history to earn a district championship, but Proctor’s boys then went on to claim another school first – the Region IV championship. The Patriots then took sixth place as a team at the UIL state meet.
#5 – Eagles boys soccer team
MHS boys soccer team, coached by Coach Christos Barouhas, had yet another successful season. After earning a three-way tie for the District 61-4A championship with a 6-4 record (20 points) and a 47-12 goal differential in their favor, the Eagles went on to earn a bi-district and an Area Championship before falling to Pharr San-Juan Alamo (PSJA) Southwest in the Sectional round.
#6 – Lady Patriot wrestlers
Veterans Memorial’s Jackie Gonzalez (165 lbs.), Klarissa Blanco (185 lbs.) and Joaida Tornes (95 lbs.) all qualified for the UIL State Wrestling Tournament by placing first, second and third respectively at the Region IV 4A tournament. Gonzalez and Blanco both earned All-State honors by placing fourth and sixth, respectively, at state.
#7 – Jose Garcia vaults his way to state
Jose Garcia, of Mission High School, earned the district, area and regional championships in the pole vault and qualified for the UIL State Track and Field meet where he placed sixth overall with a vault of 14 feet 6 inches.
#8 – Lady Patriots soccer team
In his first year as the VMHS Lady Patriots’ head soccer coach, Mike Espinoza led his squad to a second place finish in District 61-4A with a 6-2 record. The Lady Patriots went on to earn a bi-district championship, and with a bye and an area round championship with a 3-1 victory over La Feria before falling to Edcouch Elsa in the sectional round.
#9 – Tony Salinas qualifies for state
MHS shot putter Tony Salinas won the District 32-4A championship, placed second at both the area and regional meets and placed seventh at the state meet with a throw of 53 feet 11 inches.
#10 – Lady Patriots softball team
Coach Vivian Ray’s Lady Patriots softball team earned their first ever bi-district championship with an 8-3 victory over Corpus Christi Ray. Ray’s squad scored seven runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to clinch the victory in the one-game playoff. VMHS lost to eventual regional finalist Medina Valley in the area round of the UIL state playoffs, bringing their history-making season to an end.