By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
The Port Isabel High Tarpon track and field men remain restricted to Tarpon Gym for practice this week due to cold and rainy weather. Last week’s Bobcat Relays at Rio Hondo were rained out and the Tarpons haven’t practiced outside once this week through Wednesday.
“You can’t really cover the distances,” head PI boys’ track and field coach Ryan Stanage said Wednesday. “And we’ve always tried to use “Spring Break” week as a big field event week, and you can’t really get out and do a lot (with) field events. You make do with what you’ve got. You can’t control the weather.”
As mentioned before in these pages team strength, as in number of bodies, has been a problem this season. “Today we actually had some decent numbers show up,” Stanage said inside Tarpon Gym Wednesday. A lot of our kids work and they’re staying up till all hours, and trying to get them up to go run track at nine the next morning … you’re not going to win that battle very often.”
The Tarpons’ top individual performer so far this season has been sophomore hurdler Omar Silva. Two weeks ago he won both the 300-meter and 110-meter hurdles races at the Tarpon Relays and he has shaved seconds off his times in those two events since last year’s district meet. His best time in the 300’s is 40.1 seconds, which is also the second-best time in the Valley, and he thinks he do better than that.
“I know I can,” Silva said by phone Wednesday afternoon, when asked if he thought he could get down to the 39-second range. “I haven’t run my best yet. I like the 300’s better and I’d like to qualify for regionals in both events.”
So, Coach Stanage, what can you do inside a gym that was designed for volleyball and basketball but not track and field? “It’s basic skills and fundamentals. We can work on things like starts. If you’re a jumper we can do different types of bounding (taking off) and things like that.”
And can you actually run those hurdles without knocking them over and putting nicks in this nice, finished floor, Coach? “We’ve had a couple of hurdlers in here the last couple of days and they’ve done some drills.”
Speaking of his top hurdler, sophomore Omar Silva, Stanage said; “He’s really worked hard this year. He wants to be successful and you can tell it means something to him. He’s very hungry right now.”
“I really think he has a chance to go to the state meet,” Stanage said. “So far, when he’s decided he wanted to go, nobody’s been able to go with him. And I know there are some guys down here who are going to push him.”
One of the “guys” Stanage was referring to was Donna High’s Vince Castillo, who has the Valley’s fastest times in both hurdle events. “He’s a phenomenal hurdler,” Stanage said. “I think he’s going to Mississippi State. I think that’s something Omar needs to see … and know what it feels to run against somebody like that.”
The next scheduled meet will be in Donna at Donna North High School on Saturday, the 21. The Meet of Champs and the Bearkat Relays, both in Raymondville, will then precede the District 32-4A meet in La Feria on April 14 and 16.
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