McALLEN — See how talented but inexperienced the North girls’ track group is this year?

The Lady Cougars had just pulled off a narrow victory over the perennial power Lady Rattlers of Rio Grande at the McAllen Relays Saturday, but most of the team members were already on the bus when the last event ended.

So, after coming in fourth in the mile relay to edge Rio by three points, the team had all of four representatives at the medals stand.

“See, they don’t really know what to do yet in this situation,” smiled coach Rene Saenz at the sparse turnout.

But Saenz wasn’t upset, rather enthused after his unit, 25 strong with 16 sophomores, continued its progression into one of the Valley’s finest teams.

“This year we have enough girls so that we can place them in almost all the events and score some points,” said Saenz, who has a bevy of distance runners to go with veteran point-queen Julissa Ramirez and up-and-coming high-jump star Alma Chavez, who won the event Saturday for her second first-place showing in as many weeks. “Now, it’s just a matter of development, we throw enough girls out there and a certain number of them will end up being really good by the time they graduate.”

In a meet shortened to AAU-style competition (straight to finals) due to threatening weather, the mile relay group needed a third-place effort to take the title. Luckily, though, Tricia Terry, the McAllen Memorial legend, outraced the Rio gal on the last leg to win the event, and the Lady Rattlers’ second-place finish left them behind North.

The North boys, with its strong distance group, came in second overall as the Rio boys took the team title, and it looks like another promising track and field season at the school with the annual Cats Relays looming on the schedule, this Saturday at Cats Stadium.

Econ was also in attendance at the event in McAllen, with its solid pole-vault kids and some improving sprinters like Gary Rodriguez. Coach Doug Erickson promised that as the season develops, he will have more to say about the Jags’ fortunes. Girls’ coach Selena Brown, always a tireless worker with her program, noted that the Lady Jags are rounding into form.

“We just got Shay back from basketball and she was good today, third in the long jump, second in the triple, and fourth in the 100,” said Brown of senior standout Shay Hernandez, one of the most successful all-around athletes in school annals. “Right now we are a few girls short but by the next meet, we should have about 10 or so ready to compete.”

As for individual Lady Jags, watch out for freshman Karla Moreno (sixth in the mile Saturday) and returning vet Osmara Tenorio, runner-up in the 800.

The EHS contingent went down to Brownsville to see if it could keep the early successes going. At the rain-soaked Sams, Hilda Galloso was second in the 3,200 while Michael Gonzalez of EHS came home third in the 200.

The Lady Bobcats had run third at the Rattler Relays in Rio Grande City Feb. 7 to start the season, with the boys fifth. Hilda Galloso won the 3,200 at that meet and was second in the 1,600, while sister Robin produced a No. 2 slot in the 800.

At the Winter Relays in Pharr the next week, EHS was fourth with North third on the girls’ side, while the Bobcat boys were fourth with North second. Enrico Salinas won the discus for EHS with the Coogs sweeping most of the relay events.