South Texas Athletes Hit Big In Week One Of Outdoor Season


South Texas has been affected in major ways by COIVD-19. That includes coaches and athletes in track and field and cross country.

This weekend was the first weekend of track and field competition in the area and we saw many athletes have impressive starts to the 2021 season especially at the Edinburg CISD Invitational and the La Joya Invitational.

In Edinburg, Vela senior distance runner Mario Salas didn't quite have the cross country season he would have drawn up for his senior year and yet he was able to get things rolling in week one of this track season.

With the South Texas/RGV having one of the shortest cross country season of all-time, Vela didn't have much time to get much traction. He doesn't look to let that continue on the track as he won his two individual races this weekend.

Related: Edinburg CISD Invitational

He got things rolling with a 9:46.20 3,200m win for his second fastest time of his career; then he added the 1,600m win going 4:31.41. With PRs of 4:26.95 and 9:42.05, Salas is already cooking and close to surpassing those times in his first week of racing.

Also performing well at the Edinburg CISD Inv. was Laredo Alexander sophomore Julian Tijerina. The freshman season for Tijerina was of course short lived, but it was eye popping with what he was able to do before the shutdown as a young thrower in South Texas where there are always big time throwers. He threw 2020 outdoor SBs of 50-6 in the shot put and a discus best of 145-10, but those are already old PRs after week one. Season opening tosses of 54-5 and 155-1 were impressive ways to get 2021 started and with a complete go around this season, we could see Tijerina end his high school season in Austin this year.

If season opening double winners Salas and Tijerina were impressive, then Dianette Garcia's three wins should really float your boat. The junior from Edinburg Economedes proved she is really ready for 2021.

Related: La Joya Invitational

After qualifying for her first UIL 6A cross country state meet back in November, Garcia looks to be ready to continue her elite level of competing. She won the high jump, 800m, and the 3,200m this weekend going 4-10, 2:27.92, and 12:14.19.

Her high jump and 800m marks were well off from her PRs, but her 3,200m win was a personal best and although a stretch from where Garcia probably would like to end 2021 this is a good start.


At the La Joya Invitational, Mission junior distance runner Rogelio Aguirre also had a solid start to 2021. Aguirre won the 800m in 2:04.50 and the 3,200m in 9:25.08.

After qualifying for his first cross country state meet in November, Aguirre ran the second fastest 3,200m time of his career this weekend. Last year, before the shutdown, he ran three races under 9:35 and starting off nearly 10 seconds faster on February 6th which is a good sign for the current track season.