By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
The South Texas high school track and field season begins next month, and the Port Isabel High Lady Tarpons team is getting ready. The first meet of the season will be the 58th Annual Sams Relays in Brownsville on Saturday, February 16.
The head coach of the Lady Tarpons track and field squad is Sylvia Torres. She is a Port Isabel High alum and 2013 marks her 19th season in charge of the PIHS girls program.
Practice began for the Ladies last week and some of it, at least, took place indoors due to the chilly and somewhat nasty weather conditions.
“We started practice last week and it was kinda’ chilly so we practiced in the gym,” Torres said. “This week the weather’s pretty good. The kids are motivated and they’re excited about getting started.”
The Brownsville meet is still three weeks away and it’s important, at first, to go easy on the workouts, so as to reduce the possibility of injury. “I tell them conditioning comes first, so we’re starting slow,” Torres said.
The Lady Tarpons have won the last two District 32-3A championships and three of the last four. Almost everybody returns from last year’s squad, including one state qualifier and a fair quantity of regional qualifiers as well.
“We only graduated one,” Torres said. “They’re stronger and hopefully we can take more to the state meet this year.”
The returning state qualifier for the Lady Tarpons is shot put and discus thrower Daniela Murchison, who competed in the 2012 state track and field meet as a freshman.
“This year, since she did summer track (2012) she’s more mature and I think she’s ready,” Torres said.
Also back for another season of interscholastic competition are 2012 regional qualifiers Helena Loya, Ione Rodriguez, Alejandra Lopez, and Gabriyella Torres. Loya competed at regionals in the triple-jump and also as a member of the 4×100-meter and 4×400-meter relay teams. Rodriguez was district champion in the 800-meter run and also ran on the 4×400-meter relay team. Lopez went as the second-place finisher at the district meet in the pole vault, and Torres was district champion in the high jump and long jump and also ran in the 4×100-meter and 4×400-meter relays.
High jumper Melanie Reyna, sprinters Ashley Zarate, Wynona Garza, and Alyssa Samaniego, shot and discus thrower Ana Loza, and shot put athlete Kelcie Swink are also expected to make significant contributions to the success of this year’s team.
The Sams Relays have been held every year since 1956 in Sams Stadium. The stadium and the event are named for Brownsville native and business man Earl C. Sams (1884-1950).
Read this story in the Jan. 24 edition of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.