Lady Chargers, Golden Eagles shine at BISD city meet

The competition and friendly rivalry was high as seven schools from across Brownsville battled for bragging rights at the BISD city track & field meet Friday at Sams Memorial Stadium.

Two teams stood out above the rest. The Brownsville Veterans Memorial Lady Chargers checked a big goal off their list as they accumulated 138 points to clinch the girls team title. Brownsville St. Joseph finished second and Brownsville Rivera took third, followed by Brownsville Hanna, Brownsville Pace and Brownsville Porter in a tie, and Brownsville Lopez.

“This is the second most important meet of the season. We take a lot of pride in this meet, and they worked hard,” BVM coach Jaime Castaneda said. “It was a huge day for us. It’s one goal that we’ve had from the very beginning of the season. They were very focused today and they did a fantastic job, and I couldn’t be prouder.”

The Brownsville Hanna Golden Eagles repeated as the boys team city champions. Pace finished second.

“The kids did pretty good as we prepare for district coming up. They all performed, and it took every point from every event. The kids did great, and I’m really proud of them,” Hanna coach Armando Rocha said.

Brownsville Veterans freshman Naia Gracia and Brownsville St. Joseph junior Pedro Cardenas were standouts in the longer races, and their strong performances earned them the girls and boys high-point individual awards, respectively. They both won gold in the 3,200- and 800-meter races. Cardenas also finished first in the 1,600. Hanna’s Brissa Stinson took gold in the girls mile run, followed by Gracia in second.

“Everybody gets nervous when you’re standing on the starting line… but I knew I could do it. I feel really proud of myself,” Gracia said. “There can be pressure sometimes, but just give it your all and you’ll get what you deserve because we work really hard for this. I’m so proud of the girls, too, because they really did really good. We knew we had to win because everybody did really good and was pushing it in every (event).”

Cardenas had to battle Hanna’s John Abrego — another top RGV distance runner — in all three races. The pair brought the crowd to its feet during an exciting 1,600. Cardenas went into sprint mode during the final 100 meters of the race to overtake Abrego and clinch gold.

“Last year I got second in all three events, and this year, after training all summer and the little bit we had this year paid off, and I was very proud of my results. It feels good,” Cardenas said. “(Abrego is) a very close friend of mine. Since eighth grade we’ve been running together and it’s always been a competition, so it feels good to beat him. We’ll race again next year, so let’s see what happens.”

The Brownsville Veterans girls relay teams had a nice day on the track. Madison Brock, Camila Trevino, Gabriella Grossman and Aaliyah Calzada teamed up to win the 400 and 800 relays. Rivera’s team of Bethany Guzman, Camila Nunez, Christina Garza and Samara Rodriguez defeated the Lady Chargers by two seconds to take gold in the 1,600 relay.

Lady Chargers thrower Kimberly Lopez took gold in the shot put. Pace’s Alexia Ruiz swept the 100 and 300 hurdles. SJA’s Lucia Gonzalez won the 100, and Hanna’s Aliyah Castillo took gold in the 200 and 400.

Porter’s Brianna Franco finished first in the high jump, SJA’s Elise Esparza was first in the long jump and Lopez’s Kassandra Aguirre took gold in the triple jump. SJA’s Nury Ramirez was the champion in the pole vault, and Alondra Lopez claimed first in the discus for the Lady Bloodhounds.

The boys relay races were especially tight and got athletes, coaches and fans across the infield and the stands fired up and cheering for their teams.

Rivera’s 400 relay team of Marc Gonzalez, Andres Perez, Juan J. Garcia and Aaron Garza edged Brownsville Lopez by less than half a second. Marc Garcia, Jesus Coello, Alex Reyes and Ivan Gonzales gave Pace the win by a hair in the 800 relay over Rivera. Hanna took gold in the 1,600 relay as Aaron Hinojosa, Sam Zamora, Charles Thirlwall and Alejandro Arellano erased an early lead for Porter with a strong finish.

“That was amazing. It was a good feeling for the kids with everybody yelling and cheering them on. I knew we had our ace in our back pocket, so I knew we were pretty good there,” Rocha said. “We had our best runners at the end and I guess Porter had their best in the beginning, so it was a little chess match. These guys came through at the end, and we pulled it off.”

Hanna’s Edgar Zertuche clinched the title in the 300 hurdles and Isaiah Talamantez was victorious in the long jump.

Pace’s Nathan Herrera was the winner in the 110 hurdles, and Marc Garcia was the top finisher in the 100 and the pole vault. Jose Garcia from Pace won the high jump Rivera’s Aaron Garza won the 200, and Porter’s Chris Ortiz took gold in the 400. Brownsville Veterans’ Diego Hinojosa finished first in the triple jump, and Chargers thrower Miguel Ortiz won the shot put. Victor Ramos of Porter was the top discus thrower.