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Big 7 Track and Field: Meet of Champions Highlights

Sharyland Trio triumphs above the field

At last weekend’s annual RGVCA Meet of Champions Track Meet finals, Big 7 Track & Field teams traveled to PSJA Stadium in Pharr, Texas, to compete against some of the Valley’s fastest, strongest, and boldest student-athletes. With intensified stakes and the crown of “Valley’s Best” on the line, Big 7 student-athletes summoned herculean efforts to better their opponents and secure gold. But their victories earned more than just adornment. They earned bragging rights and gained confidence in their final, most prominent pre-district test.

Of the fourteen Big 7 Teams that competed in the event, three programs stood out among the rest. The Sharyland Pioneer boys, Sharyland Rattlers boys, and the Sharyland Rattlers girls’ teams saw more student-athletes finish in the top 8 than all other Big 7 Schools.

Here’s a brief recap and review of their performances ahead of their district meet next week:

 Sharyland Lady Rattlers

Sharyland Girls Track and Field Team, taken by Head Coach Melissa Dearth

Notable student-athletes: Ely Chavez, Callie Keith, Federica Gongora, Arleen Trevino, Paris Gomez, Sofia Garza, Valentina Campos

The Lady Rattlers Track and Field team has been in the district championship mix for nearly the last decade. This year, should history hold, they are in the championship hunt again and a near-shoe-in for a top-5 finish. They’ll have to compete with perennial favorite McAllen High and familiar rivals Sharyland Pioneer and Edinburg Vela. A healthy mix of newcomers and veterans has the Lady Rattlers primed for another shot at the throne.

Five lady rattlers separated themselves from the pack, achieving top 8 finishes at the Meet of Champions. Many are ranked in the top five of their respective events and expect to advance to the Area Meet at next week’s district championships.

Veterans Ely Chavez, Federica Gongora, Callie Keith, and Arleen Trevino will lead the Lady Rattlers into next week’s venue, hoping to repeat last weekend’s success. They all rank within the top three of their events and fully expect to advance. Gongora’s journey might take her farther than most, as her 300m hurdle time ranks third in the region.

“They’ve been a great group girls working hard in a very tough and talented 10 team district and it has been making everyone tougher and better for the region meet. I’m proud and enjoy every minute being their coach no matter the outcome,” Head Coach Melissa Dearth said.

The Lady Rattlers will compete next week at the 31-5A Track and Field District Championships, which will be held at PSJA Stadium on April 3rd and 4th.

Sharyland Rattlers

Sharyland Boys Track and Field Team, courtesy of Head Coach Dario Saenz .

Notable student-athletes: Federico Morales, Jorge Briones, Jose Vega, Fabian Garza, Bruno Cavazos, Calvin Harris, Jonah Driscoll, Bruno Cavazos

The Sharyland Rattlers Boys Track and Field team has an army of runners, jumpers, and throwers littering District 31-5A’s leaderboards. At last weekend’s Meet of Champions, they secured six individual and one team top 8 finishes. Leading the way for the Rattlers were do-it-all athlete Jorge Briones, and speedsters Jose Vega and Federico Morales. Briones made the finals in four different events and placed in the long jump and 400-meter dash after finishing third in the triple jump with a mark of 41-09.75. Morales placed in the long jump, and Vega finished fourth in the 200m. All three are integral parts of the Rattlers relay squads as well.

The Rattlers are ready to win a district championship. Before appearing at The Meet of Champions, they won the Mission Veterans Invitational and Steve Stark Relays in consecutive weeks. Based on their results and times/marks this year, it’d be hard to bet against them.

Although the Rattlers are battle-tested, they know the road ahead won’t forgive.

“Our expectation is to win it all. That’s the goal. Every team is shooting for that title. It’s gonna be tough. We’ve got a lot of tough teams in our district. It’s a very tough district and a very competitive district. But, we’ve got as good of a chance as anyone else if we just remain consistent and bring our best game to the district meet,” head coach Dario Saenz said when asked about his team’s chances at next week’s district championships.

The Rattlers will look to win their third team title in five weeks when they compete for the 31-5A District Championship at PSJA Stadium on April 3rd and 4th.

Pioneer Diamondbacks

Notable student-athletes: Angel Rodriguez, Andrew Leal, Antonio Carrizales, Evan Rodriguez, Sebastian Coronado, Johnathan Villarreal.

Sharyland Boys 4×1 relay team. Valley’s best, 1st place at meet of champs. Courtesy of Head Coach Marcelino De La Fuente

The Sharyland Pioneer Boys teams enjoyed the strongest performance of all Big 7 Teams participating in the Meet of Champions finals. Their 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams won gold, while their 4×2 team secured fourth despite minor setbacks. David Zuniga placed inside the top 5 in the 800-meter run, and the best Athlete in the Big 7, Angel Rodriguez, won the 400-meter dash.

With a Track and Field team of over 90, the Pioneer boys have dominated District 30-5A by sheer force. They have 23 individuals and teams ranked in the district’s top 10 of their respective events. Rodriguez is ranked first in the 100m, 200m, 400m, and long jump with a mark of 23 feet. That mark makes him one of Texas’s top 15 best long jumpers as only a sophomore.

With three competitive relay teams and a slew of athletes dominating across multiple events, the Diamondbacks will unquestionably be in the mix for a team title along with their sister school, Sharyland High.

“My expectation is that we go to district and we do what we can do the best we can, and if we do hopefully we’ll be ok. And when we get to area, it’s just doing one jump, one run, one throw at a time and hopefully we can advance. And when we get to regionals, the part that we’ve done as coaches is we’ve gotten them to that stage. Now it’s time to let athletes be athletes and perform,” head coach Marcelino De La Fuente said when asked about his preparations for the district championship.

The Diamondbacks will look to continue their momentum into next week’s 31-5A district championships at PSJA Stadium on April 3rd and 4th.

Big 7 District Track and Field Meet Locations

District 31-5A/6A Championship Showcase: PJSA Stadium, Pharr, TX; April 3rd-4th

District 30-5A: Shirley Field, Laredo, TX; April 3rd

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