The Valley schools that posted the best and most consistent performances across all sports are nominated for Class 6A and Sub-6A Program of the Year.
The winners will be announced at the 2017 All-Valley Sports Awards Banquet on Saturday at Mario’s Banquet & Conference Center in Mission.
Former San Antonio Spurs forward Robert Horry will be the keynote speaker at the event, which is being put on with help from presenting sponsor Lone Star National Bank.
The nominees for Class 6A Program of the Year:
>> Edinburg Vela: The Vela boys basketball team was the best in the area, losing only once to Valley competition and then avenging that loss a few weeks later. The SaberCats didn’t qualify for the playoffs because of a rules violation. Vela girls basketball came back from injuries and a rough start to share the district title, Vela volleyball won the district title and was an area qualifier, and the football team went undefeated in District 31-6A to win the title. Vela baseball came in third in the toughest district in the Valley, while the Lady SaberCats softball team finished third in District 31-6A with a 9-5 league record under first-year coach Jon Maples.
>> McAllen High: McAllen High volleyball won the district title and advanced to the Sweet 16. The boys basketball team finished fourth in District 30-6A at 8-4 but advanced three rounds deep in the playoffs. McHi baseball was No. 1 in the RGVSports.com Top 10 for much of the year, advancing to the regional semifinals after amassing an 11-1 district record to win the first outright district title since 2009. The McHi girls soccer team won district with an undefeated record, while the boys soccer team finished behind only eventual state qualifier La Joya Juarez-Lincoln. The Lady Bulldogs softball team won 20 games in the regular season for the first time since 2014 and claimed a share of the District 30-6A title, while the McHi girls basketball team finished second in 30-6A with a 10-2 district record.
>> Weslaco High: Weslaco boys basketball tied for first in District 32-6A and then advanced to the Sweet 16. Weslaco girls basketball went 13-1 in district, captured the district title and then advanced to the Sweet 16, as well. Weslaco girls golfer Anika Hovda ranked third in the Valley with an average of 75.00, qualifying for the regional tournament. The baseball team continued its 11-year playoff streak by finishing fourth in 32-6A with an 8-6 district record. In softball, the Lady Panthers went 23-3 in the regular season and won District 32-6A with a 13-1 league record, advancing to the regional semifinals. The Panthers won the boys and girls district titles in track and advanced four athletes to the state meet.
The nominees for Sub-6A Program of the Year:
>> Brownsville Veterans: Won or shared a District 32-5A title in football, volleyball, girls basketball, boys basketball, team tennis, boys and girls swimming, boys soccer, girls golf, boys golf, spring boys tennis, girls track and field and softball. Every sport qualified for the postseason.
>>La Feria: In cross country, the team won the league crown and star runner Tina Sierra finished in sixth place at state. The football team made it to the playoffs, the volleyball team won the league title, the girls basketball team went two deep in the playoffs, the boys basketball team won the district title, the golf team sent two players to the state meet, the tennis team sent several players to the regional tournament, the boys and girls track team sent 12 to the regional meet and, last but not least, the boys soccer team advanced all the way to the regional final.
>> Mission Veterans: Veterans football finished third in district and went three rounds deep in the playoffs. The Patriots’ baseball team was consistently ranked at the top of the RGVSports.com Top 10 for much of the year, easily winning its fifth district title in a row. The Lady Patriots volleyball team went undefeated in district at 16-0 and advanced to the area round of the playoffs. The Mission Veterans softball team also advanced to the postseason. Girls basketball tied for fourth in the district behind three Laredo schools and was eliminated in a play-in game.
The Banquet, hosted by RGVSports.com and AIM Media Texas in conjunction with the RGV Sports Hall of Fame, will see 33 awards presented to standout athletes, coaches and teams across all 12 UIL sports. The highly prestigious Tom Landry Award of Excellence will honor a student-athlete for outstanding achievements on and off the field.
The Monitor, Valley Morning Star, The Brownsville Herald, Mid-Valley Town Crier and RGV Sports Hall of Fame will vote to determine the winners in the sports categories. While The Monitor, the Star and the Herald have previously named their All-Area teams in certain sports, the All-Valley Sports Awards Banquet will recognize the very best across all three coverage areas.
The catered banquet will run 6 to 8 p.m.
Horry won seven NBA Championships and earned the moniker “Big Shot Rob” for clutch performances during his 16-year NBA career that included stints with the Spurs, Houston Rockets, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers.
Lone Star National Bank, first opened in Pharr in 1983, has grown to include more than 600 employees at 33 locations across South Texas. As part of its mission statement, Lone Star National Bank is committed to “helping our communities grow, and serving them with pride and integrity,” according to the bank’s website.
“Lone Star National Bank has a history of being a great community steward,” The Monitor Publisher Stephan Wingert said. “We are pleased to announce that Lone Star National Bank will be the presenting sponsor for the 2017 All-Valley Sports Awards Banquet. Thanks to their support, we will be able to celebrate the Valley’s best and brightest student-athletes.”