LA FERIA — The Class 4A state track and field meet is taking place today at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, and athletes from La Feria and Raymondville will be competing among the best of the best.

La Feria qualified four athletes: Cristian Olivarez, Aaron Trevino, Julian Dominguez and Liana Navarro. This is the first trip to the state meet for all of the La Feria competitors.

Olivarez is the lone senior and will participate in the triple jump. He won the Region IV championship with a jump of 44 feet, 9 1/2 inches, which is a personal record and ranks fourth-best among the nine qualifying jumps.

He said the intense regional meet prepared him for the state competition. He slipped to third place late in the competition and had to refocus and stay composed to be able to record his longest jump yet and clinch the title.

Olivarez has been working on the second phase of his jump and getting comfortable taking off from the 42-foot board, which helped him improve throughout the season and has him confident heading to the state meet.

“(Making it to state) is absolutely crazy,” Olivarez said. “Start of the season, I was very inconsistent and I wasn’t PRing at all. I was very stressed about how far I would be able to go. I knew if I wanted to make it to state I had to be in the 44 or 45 area. I’ve been very blessed with amazing coaches and with the supportive track team that I have to be able to make it this far. I owe a lot of praise to them. It’s amazing, really, knowing I’m able to represent La Feria at the state track meet.”

Trevino won the Region IV title in the long jump. The junior has had the goal of reaching state since he saw his older brother do it in the same event, so achieving that is extra special. Trevino did so while battling an injury to his liftoff ankle, and since he’s feeling “much better” now, he’s excited to see what he can do.

“My goal is just to go out there and try my best,” Trevino said. “I actually won (at the regional meet) on my last jump and I PRd by, like, a whole foot. I think (being an underdog) gives me something to push for, that they doubt me or don’t really think of me. I want to go out there and surprise them, and my plan is to upset them. … I definitely plan to make it next year as well, but this may be my only chance so I just want to go out there and have fun.”

Dominguez will be racing in the 800-meter run. His qualifying time is on the slower end of the nine-man field, but the sophomore sees that as motivation. He’s confident in the stamina his coaches have helped him build up and believes the strong kick he has can help him move up in the standings.

“I just know I have to go out there and compete. I have to show the other kids what I got and surprise these guys,” Dominguez said. “Coming into this season I was, like, ‘I have to make state.’ That was my main goal, and I worked hard for it. It means a lot to me because I made it and I get to represent everybody, even the Valley. We have a really good system (at La Feria) and these coaches are amazing. They push us to our best.”

Navarro is only a freshman, and the distance runner is already making her second trip to a state meet. She qualified in the fall for the cross country meet, and today will be running the 3,200. Navarro said varsity competition has been “very different” than what she experienced in middle school, but her training and coaches have kept her improving consistently throughout her rookie year.

Raymondville senior ZaRaivion Armendarez, left, will be competing in the 400 meter dash today at the Class 4A state track & field meet in Austin. Courtesy: Frank Cantu

“It feels really good, and I’m proud that I can represent La Feria as the only girl going. I’m really happy I’ve made it this far,” Navarro said. “My coaches put me on this training plan that helped me so much. My time, my PR, has gotten faster since the fall, and my workouts have gotten harder so I keep getting faster. I feel like I’m ready, and I know I’ve put a bunch of time and practices into this, so I feel like I’m going to do good.”

Raymondville senior ZaRaiVion Armendarez will be competing in the 400. He won the District 32-4A and area championships in the event and finished second at the Region IV meet. Armendarez brought his time down at each major meet and will look to do the same to earn a medal at state.


ccruz@valleystar.com