Big 7 schools, athletes continue to excel

The signs are all here, from Daylight Savings Time to Spring Break. Winter is over. But before we say good bye to it, let’s take a moment to go back and review the accomplishments made by the schools and athletes of the Big 7 in the sports of basketball, wrestling and swimming and diving. 

The final numbers were indeed special. A total of five teams won district championships; two in basketball, two in swimming and diving and one in wrestling. Seven basketball teams made the playoffs and four won bi-district titles. One advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.   21 individual district titles came from wrestling along with 19 more in swimming and diving. Six more district titles came via relay wins in the swimming pool. Two swimmers and one diver qualified for the state meet. One wrestler was crowned a regional champion and a total of 15 qualified for the state meet. Two placed in the top six. It was as they say, “A season to remember.”

Basketball

Both the girls and boys basketball teams of Sharyland Pioneer won their respective district races in District 31-5A, both going undefeated in district play. 

The Lady Diamondbacks, led by Coach Nicolle Villarreal, also won a bi-district title with a win over Edcouch-Elsa before bowing out to Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial in the second round. The team was led by First Team All-district selection Jordan Bravo, Defensive MVP Alexia Hernandez and Sixth Man of the Year Natalie Reyes. 

The Pioneer boys’ team, led by Coach Rene Gonzalez, saw their season end last week in San Antonio in the fourth round of the playoffs with a hard fought six point loss to San Antonio Harlan. The team was led by District MVP Derek Luna, District Defensive Player of the Year Lavar Lindo, Co-Sixth Man of the Year Darik Briseno and First Team selections Miguel Angel Gonzalez and Luke Padilla. 

Mission Veterans also had post season victories by both their girls and boys teams. The Lady Patriots beat Valley View before falling in a close one to Corpus Christi Flour Bluff. The team was led by District MVP Ronnie Cantu and First Team selection Kaylee Flores. 

The Patriots defeated Brownsville Pace in the opening round of the playoffs before falling to Laredo Martin. The team was led by First Team selection AJ Gonzaque and District Newcomer of the Year Jacob Arenas.

La Joya High sent both their girls and boys team to the playoffs too. Led by First team selection Melady Renteria, the Lady Coyotes fell to Laredo United South in the first round.  

The Coyotes scored a dramatic late game win over McAllen Memorial in a district tie-breaker game before falling to Laredo United in the first round of the postseason. The team was led by First Team selection Cesar Villarreal. 

The Lobos of La Joya Palmview lost a heartbreaker in overtime to Brownsville Veterans in their bi-district match-up. The team was led by District Offensive Player of the Year Irving Gamez and First Team selection Gerson Ramos. 

Wrestling

The Huskies of La Joya Juarez-Lincoln won the District 15-6A boys wrestling title under the leadership of Coach Armando Resendez on the strength of three individual championships (Carlos Doria, Jose Cerda, Kenth Hernandez). Doria qualified for the state tournament as well. 

The La Joya Coyotes had three district title winners as well (Brandon Garza, Andres Ochoa, Jacob Gonzalez). The team finished third. Gonzalez was a state qualifier too. 

Mission High’s Dante Lopez won a district title and also qualified for state.

The Lady Coyotes crowned two district champions (Brenda Moreno, Natalie Rosas) to aid in their second place team finish and the Mission High Lady Eagles had one (Zenaida Vega).

The District 16-5A tournament didn’t produce a team champion from a Big 7 school but had a team finish second in each division as well as 11 wrestlers who emerged with individual titles.

Sharyland Pioneer led the way for the schools of the Big 7 in Class 5A with four individual champions (Angel Avila, Daniel Huerta, Ethan Garza, Orlando Camacho) in the boys division to go along with their second place team finish. Each wrestler went on to the state tournament too. Avila finished sixth at state.

The Sharyland High Rattlers finished third as a team in district despite not having any individual champions. Alberto Mendoza did, however, qualify for the state meet. Joseph Zieske from La Joya Palmview did as well.

The Lady Rattlers finished second as a team in the girl’s division at the district meet with one individual champion (Jerilyn Perales). Perales was a state meet qualifier as well.  La Joya Palmview finished third with two champions at the district level (Ashley Aleman, Judith Rivas). Rivas was also the Regional meet champion and qualified for the state meet along with teammate Brooklyn Garza. 

The Lady Diamondbacks from Pioneer had three individual district champions (Emily Trevino, Vanessa Ramirez, Camila Flores). All three qualified for the state meet as well. Trevino finished sixth at state. 

Swimming/Diving

The last two of the five team district titles won by Big 7 schools this past winter came     The last two of the five team district titles won by Big 7 schools this past winter came from the pool and both came from Sharyland High at the District 31-5A district meet. Coach Tinalouise Jensen was named District Coach of the Meet for her part in winning the titles. 

The Lady Rattlers won by claiming all three relays and five individual titles. Gabriela Gonzalez won four golds medals for her part on two of the relays and in two individual events. Her efforts also led to her being named Swimmer of the Meet for the girl’s division. She qualified for the state meet in two events as well.  Other winners for the team were Hailey Garcia Rivas, Ivanna Gonzalez Lozano, Fernanda Herrera Gerardo, Melyna Martinez and Mariana Martinez Cruz. 

The Rattlers won two relays and four individual races to win the boys district title.  Alvaro Garza won four gold medals for his part on two relays and in two individual events. He was named Swimmer of the Meet in the boy’s division for his efforts. Garza qualified for the state meet too. Other winners for the team included Hector Gonzalez, Ivan Hernandez Pena, Luis Iuvone D’Escrivan, Joaquin Manzur, Sebastian Peralez and Ethan Siehr. 

The Lady Patriots of Mission Veterans were second to the Lady Rattlers in the girls division at the district meet, led by individual titles from Victoria Bonilla and Aryn Sanchez. The Lady Diamondbacks of Pioneer high were third on the strength of five second place finishes.

The Pioneer boys’ team placed second as a team behind a winning relay team and two individual titles. Gold medal winners for the Diamondbacks were Seth Epling, Diego Garza, Emilio Guajardo and Ethan Montalvo. 

The boy’s from Mission Veterans placed fourth behind a gold medal performance from diver Eric Benavides. Veterans’ coach Melissa Reyna was recognized as the District Diving Coach of the Meet as her athletes (Bonilla, Benavides) won gold in both the girls and boys diving events. Each was named Diver of the Meet in their respective divisions. 

In District 30-6A, the Lady Eagles of Mission High finished third as team behind individual titles from Carleigh Castillo, Angelina Garza and Victoria Trevino. The Eagles finished fourth as a team behind a gold medal from Hilario Guerra. 

Alan Castillo from La Joya High also won an individual title and qualified for the state meet in diving. 

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