2018 High School Track and Field Season Preview
By: JOHN CANNON
(MERCEDES) – The Mercedes Tigers Track and Field team pulled off the inevitable in 2017 when they captured the District 32-5A title.
And to top it off, they won the title in their own house.
“The guys had it in their heads coming into the season last year that they wanted to win that district title and were willing to do whatever it took to make it happen,” said boys head track and field coach Pete Martinez. “All of them knew they would have to sacrifice a lot to make that happen and we made some guys fill in gaps in certain events such as the 200 and the 400-Meter Dash.”
“We used the first couple of meets to let everyone get acclimated to their new role on the team and as the season rolled on, we were beginning to see the progress and felt good about our chances going into district. At the district meet, everything just seemed to come together for us and the kids performed to their utmost potential. And when all was said and done, they were rewarded with their first district title in 28 years and it was truly a special thing to be a part of.”
Now with the 2018 season less than a day away, Martinez and the Tigers have their sights set on defending their title and return a ton of talent to help them make it a reality.
One of the biggest pieces of the puzzle is Dominic Cavazos who brings in a wealth of experience as he competed at the state meet last year and finished in 8th place in the 1600-Meter Run.
Now as a senior, Cavazos will increase his workload by competing in the 3200-Meter Run and in the 800-Meter Run as well.
“Dominic has state experience in both Cross-Country and in Track and knows what it takes to compete at that level,” Martinez said. “As a senior, Dominic has set his goals high and is ready to let loose.”
“He is going to compete in all three events and will do whatever it takes to help his team once again win that district title.”
Two other seniors that Martinez feels will make a big impact are Mark and Matthew Ledesma who will compete in the short distance events.
Their strength in the short distance events is the 200-Meter Dash where both qualified for the Area Meet where Matthew placed third while Marc took fourth at the District Meet.
They were also an integral part of the relay teams that won first place in both the 4 x 100 and the 4 x 200 at district.
Add in the likes of Caleb Arthur, Julian Fuentes, Lupe Reyes and Eddie Trevino who will also play key roles on the team and the Tigers have a good a shot as anyone to repeat as “District Champs.”
On the girls’ side, they have a huge challenge on their hands as head coach Judy Gutierrez must replace Jacky Flores who qualified for five events at the area meet.
“You cannot replace a Jacky Flores,” said Gutierrez. “She was with us for four years and qualified in five events at the area meet as a senior.”
“Jacky was the type of athlete that possesses tremendous talent and we are truly going to miss her this year.”
But the good news for Gutierrez is she has two athletes who will step in and fill those key roles that Flores competed in.
“We are looking at Jacky’s sister Jazmine Flores and Cassidy Rodriguez to be the ones to fill in those events,” Gutierrez said. “Jazmine is a junior and will keep the role that Jacky had. She is an athlete and will do a great job for us.”
“Cassidy is a freshman and can pretty much compete in any event that we need her in. She has a ton of potential and we expect big things from her in the running events and in the jumping events too.”
The biggest strength for the Lady Tigers this year is in the high jump as Jessica Zepeda and Zyra Garcia look to defend their area title.
“Both Jessica and Zyra tied to win the area title in the high jump last year and are looking to repeat in 2018,” said Gutierrez. “They have set high goals for this season and have been working hard to attain their title once again while trying to take it one step further.”
A few other girls will be relied upon to help the Lady Tigers match the boys by attempting to bring home the title and they are Soledad Cruz, Yaremi Cobos, Giselle Flores and Yesenia Garcia.
The Mercedes boys’ and girls’ track and field begin their season on Friday as they will compete in the Bobby Morrow Relays at San Benito.