Homer Martinez knows that senior Luis Serrano has joined the pantheon of great distance runners at Edinburg North. Rene Saenz knows that though she’s just a freshman, Jenyse Vazquez is on the fast track to becoming one of the greats on the girls’ side for the Lady Cougars.
Both those long-range stars won their signature event at the District 31-5A track meet last week, with Serrano pacing the field in the 1,600 and 3,200 and Vazquez cleaning the cinders of the competition in the 800 on Saturday.
Martinez, the Hall of Fame coach who has seen his share of great ones in an illustrious career, said that the dependable Serrano, who has become a regular at the regional meet, is capable of continuing his career at the college level.
“He’s done real well for us, we’ve been lucky enough to have a series of outstanding distance runners,” he said. “Luis is one of them, he’s not real big, sort of compares to Roly [Vela] physically. He has got some offers, including Pan Am, and we’re real proud of him.”
Recent former stars Vela, Wally Gonzalez and Omar Doria are all in the program, now at UTPA, with Serrano perhaps to follow. The next North thinclad to watch? Probably Luis Reyes, a good-looking sophomore whom Martinez is counting on to pick up the torch in 2011 and fly.
In the distant past, Humberto Salazar (1992) and Joe Medina (1995) were some great ones, with Medina still holding the city record in the 1,600 at 9:07.78.
As for Saenz, the third-year girls’ coach noted that no one knows how good the amazing Vazquez will become before she’s through.
“She’s going to try and get to 2:20 today, and that should put her in pretty good shape for the regional meet,” he said. As the meet unfolded Saturday under threatening skies that would eventually cause a three-hour delay at P-SJ-A Stadium as the storm rolled in, Vazquez beat the field and the weather with an 800 time of 2:21.32, with EHS’s Beckah Rodriguez also advancing to the next stage with a third-place run.
Vazquez went all the way to state in cross country in the fall and has her sights set on an equally fine performance this spring.
“I prefer track, actually,” said the 9th-grade sensation known for her cool, dark shades and machine-like consistency on the track. “It’s a lot more speed in track. I have been looking at some of the times in other areas, seeing what kind of talent I have to go against in San Antonio. Today I set a PR so that’s good. We’ll see. I think can get to 2:15 this year if I keep working hard.”
As she works toward her goals, Vazquez is going to duel with some city greats of the past. Here are the numbers to beat: Laura Vazquez of EHS clocked in at 2:10.70 back in 1987, while legendary Sonia Sepulveda (2:12.27 in 1990), Yvonne Ramirez (2:18.01 in 1985), Michelle Martin (2:18.59 in 1989), Sandra Perez (2:19.90 in 1980), and the 1978 pair of Diana Perez (2:20.03) and Jamie Calvillo (2:20.03 also) are Lady Bobcats whose records might be in extreme peril as the years roll on.
North also claimed the 800 on the boys side, as junior Adrian Coronado ran first with Lucas Lozano third despite taking a late tumble onto the track at race’s end.
The Lady Coogs finished hard in the sprint relay to come in third and earn a trip to regionals. After Larissa Arriola and Essence Brown kept the team in the race, Audrey Ayala steamed to a big finish to cap the event.
A handful of Econ exes were in the audience Saturday to catch a glimpse of Nelson Hampton, who is fast becoming a track star for the Jags. Wicho Jimenez, the last Jag back to top the 1,000-yard mark, back in 2006, tagged along with Bryan Iglesias, Nelson’s brother.
They were fired up over “The Little Cat” and his scintillating field-event work done Thursday, when the junior copped first prize in the long and triple jumps. He went 21-10.25 in the first event and 44-4.5 in the second, setting season PRs. That triple jump mark is third in city history behind Jason Garcia of EHS (46-10.5 in 1999) and Nick Soto of EHS (45-10.75 in 2005).
And in the fall, he may just get a shot at bettering Jimenez’ bull-like rush to the magic 1,000 level for the Jags.
NOTES: Playing on a familiar course, the EHS girls’ golf team won its fifth straight District 31-5A title last week, shooting a two-day total of 740 to outdistance Harlingen South and Edinburg North at Los Lagos. Erik Cubriel is on to regional for the North boys.
Coach Orlando Garza got a fine performance from the Tamens, as sophomore Jessica Tamen won the individual crown with a two-day total of 153, including 76 on Day Two. Olivia Tamen came in at 166. North was second, as both teams advanced to the regional tournament, to be held Monday-Tuesday at Los Lagos; the boys regional, the first for a Valley site, is at Palmview in McAllen this week.
Correction: last week’s Review called the soccer All-District team the “softball” team by mistake…now that was silly, wasn’t it? Our apologies.