MISSION — Rogelio Aguirre of Mission High, Daniel Alamilla of Mission Veterans and Sebastian Salinas and Ayden Granados of McAllen Memorial were all smiles before the start of the 1,600-meter race on Friday.
Each held a Top 25 in their respective class according to Athletic.net, setting themselves up for a possible photo-finish.
From start to finish, the athletes raced side by side, with a new leader emerging after each lap. Mission High’s Rogelio Aguirre, who ranks No. 25 in Class 5A with a time of 4 minutes, 27.31 seconds, according to athletic.net, took the top spot after one lap.
The second round featured Daniel Alamilla of Mission Veterans, ranked No. 14 in Class 5A (4:28.44), and Ayden Granados of McAllen Memorial, ranked No. 3 in Class 5A (4:24.31) , neck and neck for first place. On lap three, it became a three-way race, with Aguirre, Granados and McAllen Memorial’s Sebastian Salinas, who holds the third fastest time in the 5A class this season (4:24.17), jockeying for gold.
“It was a very competitive field,” Salinas said. “I was really excited for that. … I had planned to run a tactical race. Roy took the lead at the start. As the second lap unfolded, Danny took the lead and then Ayden. I just went with them. I thought Ayden was going to slow down a bit, but he got away with it.
Granados edged out his opponents for first place, finishing with a time of 4:29.75 Friday at the Sharyland ISD Steve Stark Relays at Richard Thompson Stadium in Mission. Salinas took second place with a time of 4:30.47 seconds, fending off a late push from Aguirre, who finished third at 4:30.88.
“It’s a really good feeling because a lot of us are really close friends,” Granados said. “It’s friendly competition, but it’s good motivation to get us all moving faster and hopefully getting us all to declare.”
Elsewhere, Rio Grande City’s Serina Ramirez, who holds the state’s top 5 marks in the discus and shot put, dominated the competition en route to a pair of gold medals. In the discus throw, Ramirez hit a mark of 125-foot-1, more than 13 feet ahead of Sharyland Pioneer’s Natalie Reyes, who finished second with a throw of 112-00.
She was also dominant in the shot put, recording a 43-07 shot for the first. McAllen High’s Celina Saenz finished second at 34-11.
“I’m very proud of myself and my current situation,” Ramirez said. “Compared to last year, when I threw in Sharyland last year, I threw around 36 feet (in the shot put) and around 130 feet (in the discus). So I am very happy with where I am at the moment.
While Granados and Ramirez won individual gold, McAllen High won the tag team championship in both the boys’ and girls’ divisions, marking the fourth straight meeting the Bulldogs have swept.
The women’s team finished first with 164.5 points, well ahead of Sharyland High and Edinburg Economedes with 96 and 90 points respectively.
McAllen High hurdler Abbigail Villafranca was among the team’s best, winning two individual gold medals in the 100 and 300 meter hurdles, while helping the 4×100 meter relay team to first place.
The men’s team won the championship with 90 points, with Edinburg Economedes (76.5) and Edinburg Vela (76) finishing second and third respectively.
Michael Gower won a pair of silver medals for McAllen High in the 400 meters and 800 meters, while anchoring the 4×400 meters relay team in third place.