It has been an interesting week for the Cougars, and athletic director Roy Garza can now count two major accolades to the credit of his program.
North captured the second annual All-Sports Champion Award given to the top-performing program in the city. Then, mid-week, Garza found out that the Cougars had been nominated for three awards at the upcoming Monitor All-Sports Award banquet to be held June 15 in Harlingen.
“From none to three, not bad,” he laughed Wednesday night. “I was notified yesterday about that, and we are pretty excited about the news.”
Both the football squad and girls’ basketball team have been nominated in the Team of the Year category, while Jenny Gaytan is up for girls’ Coach of the Year. After taking the overall city title for the second year in a row, Garza and Co. are set to see how they stack up against the Valley-wide field. The banquet will be at Marine Military Academy and is sponsored by The Monitor and the Harlingen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“We’re the only program in Edinburg to get a nomination, so we feel that says a lot about what we are trying to here,” said Garza, whose football kids advanced to the third round of the playoffs in the program’s best showing in its 20-year history. “We try to breed success, not just in football but across the board, and it is gradually taking root.”
Garza notes that in winning the Edinburg All-Sports Award, the Cougar consistency in all athletic competitions was a key factor.
“We won it last year without having any district champions but we got a few this time,” he commented. “Most of our teams were right there, 1-2-3, a few of them got close to winning district. It wasn’t for lack of work that we fell a little short. Overall, we are happy with where we are at right now as a total program.”
Having the trio of nominees at the Valley-wide affair is a testimony to the spirit of competition the coaches have strives to create. Garza says that considering the very tough district the Coogs and Lady Coogs have to deal with, getting a shot at some awards is really an achievement in itself.
“I think in many sports 31-5A is the toughest, top to bottom,” he said. “But again, our teams have been really consistent in their performance. That is especially true with our track and cross country coaches and kids, they all do such a super job.”
Like many city observers Garza, who has been a staple on the local scene dating back to his high school sports career at EHS in the 1970s, feels that 2009-10 was perhaps the best one the city has ever seen.
“I think maybe it might be, but it’s hard to say because this town has always been pretty good,” said the coach, who welcomes back most of his starters on defense and is looking to fill in some open spots on the other side of the ball. North heads into the summer looking to make the postseason for the fourth season in a row.
“And we are looking to concentrate on working with our young kids, getting them ready, because we are already planning on dealing with the next school split when it comes to reality in a few years.”
NOTES: Harvest Christian coach Jaime Gonzalez is also poised to possibly accept an award at the Monitor banquet. The coach of the girls’ and boys’ hoops teams that both went deep into the state playoffs this season is up for Coach of the Year along with Gaytan.
The EHS seven-on-seven football team advanced to the state tournament last weekend by defeating P-SJ-A Memorial in the championship of the Mission Tournament. The Bobcats used the touchdown connection of Steve Guerrero to John Gonzalez to win the deal, with North making the semi-finals before losing to Memorial.
The state tourney will in College Station this weekend.