WESLACO - If one hangs around long enough at a track meet, the stories tell themselves, and Saturday’s Meet of Champs was no exception.
Edinburg hurdler Dante Guerrero has spent much of the season helping overcome a shortage of athletes on the squad, and is pushing closer to the medal stand as the campaign wears on. But he could probably make it as a sports commentator if his track career doesn’t work out. Funny and incisive, Guerrero sat on the green at Bobby Lackey Stadium with friend Jake Hrbacek of North, spinning humorous yarns and offering his unique take on life in the process.
He and Hrbacek were cracking up when the talk turned to the EHS distance kids, a group who shall from this point on be known as the Great Brains.
“Those guys are brilliant, they are always studying or talking about school,” said Guerrero, with that faux insulting tone that he uses to express admiration for Omar Trujillo, Jeremy Castaneda, and a couple of other veteran and successful striders. “They were reading in the car on the way over, yeah, those dudes do homework while driving!”
Keeping the somewhat reserved Hrbacek in grins, Guerrero went on to exaggerate to make the point, and we are reminded that hyperbole is more than just a nebulous English class term…hey, this stuff really works.
“But seriously, they are great runners and all top students,” he informed. “One of them will probably go to Rice, another is waiting on Columbia to decide, yeah Columbia, see what I mean? Jeremy is also an amazing artist, you should see his portraits, the guy is an All-Valley painter, too.”
It’s fun to hear a student-athlete praise his peers, because so often there is that unspoken rivalry between them, especially with the males. While he attempts to carve out his own piece of the rock this season, Guerrero is secure and observant enough to take pride in the exploits of his fellows. An engaging chap, that Dante.
As for Hrbacek, or “Harbreck” as some might call him when challenged by an ethnic last name not common to these parts: he is looking very solid in the hurdles this year. The football receiver has airtight form and has performed well in a crowded field of stars.
When the district meet rolls around in two weeks, he will duel with Mac Zarate of P-SJ-A Memorial and the amazing blur that is Randy Bermea of Harlingen. The latter set a Valley record in the 100-meter event Saturday, flying over the posts in 13.62, but Hrbacek is determined to maximize what he’s got and stand right in there with his contemporaries. That’s the football coming out in the Karnes City native; he ain’t gonna bow to anyone.
If you have not seen Nelson Hampton’s name in the paper lately, blame his toe. The Jag speedster returned to action in Weslaco after a couple of weeks on the shelf with an injury. But he has been lifting like crazy and biding his time for a comeback. Second and third in the jumps Saturday signaled that come 31-5A competition, the smooth senior should be back atop the heap in the events he has ruled since February.
EHS high jumper Eli Abrego went out at 6-3 for third place after all was said and done Saturday, and will be one of the favorites to win the district meet. With his point potential and the distance kids, the Bobcats are a good bet to get the most out of what they have after a somewhat trying campaign.
Thrower Joey Galvan, another of the Great Brains that Guerrero was crowing about, has struggled with that perennially bad knee, but he is in the mix for district and beyond. Somewhat like North’s Hrabacek, the All-Valley lineman brings a hard-nosed grid mentality to the track, and would like to finish his senior season on a high note. Don’t bet against that.
Meet of Champs results at Weslaco
High jump: 3. Eli Abrego, EHS 6-3
Long jump: 2. Nelson Hampton, Econ 21-4
Triple jump: 3. Hampton, Econ 43-2
Discus: 6. Hugo Reyes-Paz, North 141-5.5
800: 5. Adrian Coronado, North 2:00.45
110 Hurdles: 3. Jake Hrbacek, North 14.85
300 Hurdles: 6. Hrbacek, North 41.07
Triple jump: 3. Leigha Brown, Econ 34-5.5
3200: 6. Kim Burgoa, North 12:21.98
400 Relay: 5. North 51.25
800: 1. Jenyse Vazquez, North 2:19.86; 4. Beckah Rodriguez, EHS 2:23.91; 5. Joanna Rivera, Econ 2:24.24
100 Hurdles: 2. Brown, Econ 14.84
100: 4. Larissa Arriola, North 12.78
300 Hurdles: 2. Brown, Econ 45.73; 4. Stephanie Vazquez, EHS 49.10
1600: 6. Alexis Montero, North 5:36.90
1600 Relay: 1. Econ 4:06.32