The 2023 track and field season featured 26 individuals and one relay team representing the Rio Grande Valley at the UIL state track and field championships.

The three-day event was one of the most impressive by the RGV in recent memory, with a total of 13 podium finishes earned, including seven state championships.

This year, 23 individuals and three relay teams are set to represent the area at the UIL state meet.

From a trio of La Feria distance runners to Lasara’s three-event qualifier in Jose Ventura, here’s a look at every boys individual and relay team from the Valley competing at state.


Sharyland Pioneer sophomore Angel Rodriguez. (Courtesy Photo)

Name: Angel Rodriguez

School: Sharyland Pioneer

Grade: Sophomore

State Track Appearances: 2024

Event(s): Long Jump; 400m

PR(s): 23-00.5 (Long Jump); 49.13 (400m)

Favorite Meet: Before I list my accomplishments, I want to thank God for giving me his strength to help me run my races with everything I got and keeping me healthy. The area meet was my favorite because I went through some adversity in the long jump, scratching my first two good jumps and needing to advance to the finals. My fourth jump is when I found my momentum to get first and qualify for regionals. With still using my momentum I finished first in the 400 and helped my teammates in the 4×4 get the comeback win. I want to thank all my coaches for always trusting and believing in me.

Notes: Rodriguez made noise as a freshman at La Joya High, advancing all the way to the Region IV-6A meet in the long jump before his season ended. Only the logo on his chest has changed this year, as he has built off last year’s success and turned it into his first state meet appearance during his first season with the Diamondbacks. The sophomore do-it-all athlete is the only RGV athlete to earn a state bid in a field and running event, qualifying in the 5A long jump and 400-meter dash.


Rio Grande City senior thrower Dante Barrera. (Andrew Cordero | Special to RGVSports)

Name: Dante Barrera

School: Rio Grande City

Grade: Senior

State Track Appearances: 2024

Event(s): Discus

PR(s): 177-06

Favorite Meet: My favorite meet was the Meet of Champs because that was the first time I had ever hit over 170 feet. 

Notes: Barrera didn’t expect a state bid to come this season. Even after winning the discus during the RGVCA Meet of Champs, the Rio Grande City senior still had doubts about a state berth. Barrera has more than exceeded his own expectations this year, winning gold in the discus during eight of his nine appearances, including District 30-5A, Area 29/30-5A and Region IV-5A titles. The Rattlers’ thrower holds the seventh-best mark in Class 5A this season heading into the state meet, a throw of 177-6 during his Meet of Champs victory.


PSJA Memorial mid-distance runner Diego Pina. (Andrew Cordero | Special to RGVSports)

Name: Diego Pina

School: PSJA Memorial

Grade: Senior

State Track Appearances: 2024

Event(s): 800m

PR(s): 1:54.58 (800m)

Favorite Meet: My favorite meet is the “Meet of Champs” because it shows who is the best of the best in the valley.

Notes: Despite soccer and track taking place almost simultaneously, Piña juggled competing in both sports almost flawlessly. The District 31-5A boys soccer MVP also was among the Valley’s best all season in the 800-meter run, winning District 31-5A and 31/32-5A titles in the event before qualifying for state with a second-place finish during the Region IV-5A championships. Piña enters his first state meet appearance seeded eighth with a personal-best time of 1 minute, 54.58 seconds.


Roma senior sprinter Diego Rodriguez. (Andrew Cordero | Special to RGVSports)

Name: Diego Rodriguez

School: Roma

Grade: Senior

State Track Appearances: 2024

Event(s): 100m; 200m

PR(s): 10.57 (100m); 21.46 (200m)

Favorite Meet: My favorite would be the Texas Relays in March just because of the stadium and competition. I didn’t run my PR there but I just loved running against the fastest in the state and maybe even nation plus the thrill there was something else.

Notes: Rodriguez missed out on a state berth in the Class 5A 100-meter dash last season by just 0.24 seconds, finishing in third in the event during the regional meet. This year he’s headed to state in two events, qualifying in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. The Gladiators’ sprinter won the Region IV-5A 100-meter dash title one year after finishing third, clocking in at 10.65 during the finals. He set a personal best of 10.57 during the prelims the previous day. He added a second state berth during the 200-meter dash, finishing in a personal best 21.46 seconds for second place.


Edinburg Vela junior thrower Kristopher Perez. (Andrew Cordero | Special to RGVSports)

Name: Kristopher Perez

School: Edinburg Vela

Grade: Junior

State Track Appearances: 2023, 2024

Event(s): Shot Put

PR(s): 56-00.5 (Shot Put)

Favorite Meet: Regional Meet since I qualified back to state after having a tough year dealing with an injury I had before the season started.

Notes: After qualifying for the regional meet in the discus and shot put last year, injuries forced Perez to focus on just one event during championship season, opting to shift his attention primarily to the shot put. The same injury nearly jeopardized his return to state, finishing third in the 5A boys shot put during the Region IV-5A track and field championships. Perez is headed back to state, however, earning the wild card spot in the event for a second straight year. Perez enters the state meet confident this season despite the wild card bid, looking to improve from last year’s eighth-place finish.



La Feria sophomore distance runner Anthony Morales. (Andrew Cordero | Special to RGVSports)

Name: Anthony Morales

School: La Feria

Grade: Sophomore

State Track Appearances: 2023, 2024

Event(s): 3,200m 

PR(s): 9:20.50 (3,200m)

Favorite Meet: 2024 Regionals because we got to get top 3 as La Feria runners and that wasn’t done before. 

Notes: Anthony made his state debut last year after finishing second in the Region IV-4A boys 3,200-meter run, capping his freshman season with a seventh-place finish in Austin. The Lions’ distance runner is headed back to state in the same event, this time going in as the Region IV-4A champion. Morales holds the third-fastest time in Class 4A this season according to, clocking in at 9 minutes, 20.50 seconds during his RGVCA Meet of Champions victory. A state championship isn’t out of the question for the sophomore, with less than five seconds separating him from the top ranked time of Canyon’s Lathan Lewter.


La Feria sophomore distance runner Armando Morales. (Andrew Cordero | Special to RGVSports)

Name: Armando Morales

School: La Feria

Grade: Sophomore

State Track Appearances: 2024  

Event(s): 1,600m; 3,200m 

PR(s): 4:24.25 (1,600m); 9:22.45 (3,200m)

Favorite Meet: MOC because La Feria was able to earn a top 3 finish in the 3,200m.

Notes: Armando had to watch his brother from the stands during last year’s state meet, just missing out on a bid of his own following a third-place finish in the 3,200-meter run at the regional. The sophomore is set to compete alongside his brother this season after coming in second during the Region IV-4A boys 3,200-meter run, and also qualified in the 1,600-meter run. Like his brother, Armando is a legit contender for a podium finish during the state meet, ranking fourth in Class 4A in the 3,200-meter run according to The Lions’ distance runner also ranks in the top 10 in the Class 4A 1,600-meter run.


La Feria senior distance runner Evan Torres. (Andrew Cordero | Special to RGVSports)

Name: Evan Torres

School: La Feria

Grade: Senior

State Track Appearances: 2022, 2024

Event(s): 1,600m

PR(s): 4:24.37

Favorite Meet: Regionals because I set a PR.

Notes: After qualifying for state as a sophomore, injuries kept Torres from making a return last season. The senior distance runner is back at the big stage this season, finishing first in the Region IV-4A 1,600-meter run ahead of his teammate, Armando. Torres set a personal best during the Region IV-4A meet en route to the first regional title of his career, winning the 1,600-meter run with a time of 4 minutes, 24.37 seconds. Torres’ regional title gave La Feria boys the sweep of the distance events during the regional meet, while advancing three Lions distance runners to the state meet.



Lasara junior distance runner Jose Ventura. (Andrew Cordero | Special to RGVSports)

Name: Jose Ventura

School: Lasara

Grade: Junior

State Track Appearances: 2024

Event(s): 800m; 1,600m; 4×400 Relay

PR(s): 2:01.16 (800m); 4:39.08 (1,600m); 3:36.01 (4×400 Relay)

Favorite Meet: Regional meet because I won all my events. 

Notes: Ventura is one of two RGV athletes to qualify for three events during this year’s state track meet, joining Edinburg North’s San Juanita Leal. The junior distance runner, who is making his state debut, is set to compete in the Class 1A boys 800- and 1,600-meter runs as an individual and also advancing as a part of Lasara’s 4×400 relay team. While Ventura is headed to state for the first time in his track career, he’s no stranger to competing against the best in the state, qualifying for the state cross country championships the past two years. A pair of podium finishes could be a reality for Ventura during his state debut, holding top four times in Class 1A in both of his events heading into the state meet.


Left to right, Jason Mendo, Jose Ventura, Rolan Guerra and Maximo Hernandez. (Andrew Cordero | Special to RGVSports)

School: Lasara

Event: 4×400 Relay

Names: Jason Mendo, Rolan Guerra, Maximo Hernandez, Jose Ventura.

SR: 3:36.01 (4×400 Relay)

Favorite Meet: Our favorite meet of the season is the Regional 1A Meet because we were the 4x400m relay regional champions.

Notes: Lasara enters the state meet with the most regional champions of any RGV schools, with the Lions claiming five titles during last week’s Region IV-1A meet. Among those champs was the boys 4×400 relay team comprised of Rolan Guerra, Maximo Hernandez, Jason Mendo and Jose Ventura. The Lions’ relay squad has been on a roll since championship season, reeling off three straight wins en route to District 32-1A, Area 31/32-1A and Region IV-1A championships. Their time of 3:36.01 during the regional meet set a personal best for the relay team, hoping to set another during the state meet.

The UIL state track and field championships are scheduled for May 2-4 at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin. The three-day event kicks off with Class 3A and 4A athletes Thursday, with 2A and 5A competitors following Friday and 1A and 6A participants wrapping up the event Saturday.

For a full look at all the Valley’s qualifiers at this year’s meet, along with updated results throughout the weekend, visit

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