Bobby Morrow remains one of the Rio Grande Valley’s sports legends. Morrow, who died last year, was considered the most dominant sprinter of the 1950s and earned three gold medals at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia.
This year two Valley athletes took significant steps down that same road, receiving invitations to compete in the Olympic trials. In the end neither was named to the final team scheduled to represent the United States at the upcoming Olympics that are scheduled to begin July 23 in Tokyo, but their achievement honors them, their families and the Valley as a whole.
Desirea Buerge, a graduate student at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, placed 11th after reaching the semifinals in the women’s discus at the recent Olympic trials at Eugene, Oregon. McAllen High School graduate and current Texas A&M student Shaine Casas, a former national champion and 2020 Collegiate Male Swimmer of the Year, reached the finals in two events at the trials last week in Omaha, Neb., placing third in the 100-meter backstroke and sixth in the 200-meter backstroke. The top tow finishers in each event are selected to the national team, but injury, illness or other unexpected factor could affect the final roster.
We applaud these two athletes and the dedication and sacrifice that took them so far. Their achievements surely inspire others to pursue their own goals.
To be sure, only a select few ever reach Olympic-level excellence in any endeavor, but countless achievers show the same commitment to their respective activities. Some make it to the national or international level, some even become professionals in their chosen field, while others might get to the state finale, regional or all-district or all-city recognition.
Such achievements aren’t limited to sports; many Valley residents have made their mark in music, science or engineering competitions; some have been part of Academic Decathlon, mock trial or other teams that have reached elite levels.
The final levels of achievement might differ, but they all reflect laudable qualities of talent, hard work, commitment and sacrifice — qualities that are sure to serve them beyond the arenas of competition. The focus and discipline that’s required to set goals and achieve them will help throughout life, in the professional world and even in managing a home or personal life.
We can only imagine what those sacrifices might have entailed — early-morning and late-night practices, playing through pain, missed social events, to name a few — but we can be sure that they reveal qualities that help people achieve success throughout life.
Many champions have said that in the end it is the struggle, the journey, the setting of goals and working toward them, is a greater reward than any trophy one is able to grasp when one reaches the summit.
Again, we applaud Buerge and Casas for their achievement, and for setting admirable examples for all to follow. We will be ready to report their next achievements as they continue to apply their talents and reach new goals. Surely they will continue to inspire other Valley residents to set their own goals and blaze their own trails toward greatness.