When it comes to soccer, the Rio Grande Valley high school programs are always well represented when the playoffs roll around. A big reason for that success has always been the Valley’s talent, which once again shined in the postseason with several teams earning big wins on their way to lengthy playoff runs. With many strong players in the area, several stood out above the rest.
Below are the nominees for the All-Valley Boys and Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Winners will be announced June 13 at the All-Valley Sports Awards Banquet, co-presented by DHR Health and Lone Star National Bank. Nominees are listed in alphabetical order.
Mark Boswell, Brownsville Veterans Memorial, junior: Boswell is one of the main playmakers for a 23-3-1 Chargers team that reached the Region IV-5A final for the third straight year. Boswell, a forward-midfielder, finished the season with 18 goals and an amazing 30 assists. He was voted offensive player of the year in 32-5A and has been a starter since his freshman season.
Jose Lerma, Harlingen South, senior: He was voted unanimous overall MVP of District 32-6A. He was a big reason why the Hawks went 17-10 and won a playoff game (actually two) in boys soccer for the first time in school history (approximately 25-year playoff dry spell). The Hawks advanced to the regional quarterfinals and came within one win of going to the regional tournament for the first time. Lerma led the Hawks with 22 goals on the season and eight in district.
Sergio Escareño, La Joya Juarez-Lincoln, junior: With a big senior exodus from last season to this season, Escañero was tasked with filling the net for the Huskies. He scored 22 goals on the season. Juarez-Lincoln ran the table for another undefeated district championship. The Huskies went 14-0 in district and outscored opposition 65 to 7. Escañero will have another season? with his team and will look to extend their playoff season beyond bi-district.
Ava Alaniz, McAllen High, junior: Alaniz missed the first part of the year with injury but when she was added back into the lineup, the Bulldogs looked as if they hadn’t missed a beat from their state qualifying team in 2018. Alaniz scored 18 goals and McHi won the district again. Watching the combination between Alaniz and last season’s All-Valley Player of the Year, Westyn Henderson alongside scorer Sophia Soto (26 goals) was a treat for Bulldogs fans. Alaniz will play collegiately at the University of Houston. She was named a 30-6A first-team all district forward.
Mellory Grannum, Harlingen South, senior: Grannum was a key reason the Lady Hawks advanced to the Region IV-6A final for the first time since 2003 and went 23-4 on the season. Grannum was a force in the midfield and on the offensive end. When the Lady Hawks went ahead she would often drop back and play defense to make sure South wouldn’t allow any additional scores. She was one of three players chosen as the overall MVP in District 32-6A.
Alexis Guajardo, Brownsville Pace, senior: A four-year varsity player who scored 37 goals during her senior season and finished with 101 goals for her high school career. She was a key member of the Lady Vikings team that won back-to-back District 32-5A championships and advanced two rounds in the playoffs this season before finishing with a 23-9-3 overall record. She has signed to play soccer at Southwestern University in Georgetown.
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 athletes, coaches and teams across all 12 UIL sports. The prestigious Tom Landry Award of Excellence will honor a student athlete for outstanding achievements.
Dallas Cowboys great Randy White, a Super Bowl MVP and NFL Hall of Famer, will be the guest speaker.
The banquet, which will run approximately 6 to 8 p.m., returns to Mario’s for a second consecutive year. The venue has a seating capacity of more than 500 people.
Tickets are on sale for $40 per person. For sponsorship opportunities, call Marcia Kitten at (956) 683-4463 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.