SAN JUAN — PSJA High senior Miguel Flores, one of the Rio Grande Valley’s fastest sprinters and an integral part of the Bears’ baseball, football and track and field programs, has signed to run collegiately and study at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio.

“I had seen their runners who were incoming freshmen and they had a great team. I just felt like I would blend in with them and have a great 4×200, 4×400 relay coming in next year,” Flores said. “All of them are talented and all of them did great their freshman year, so I just thought it would be perfect to be with them. Academically, they had what I wanted to major in, which is kinesiology, so it was a great fit there, too. They offered everything I wanted to learn.”

Flores, who played three seasons each of varsity football and baseball and was a four-year letterman in track, developed a reputation as one of the area’s most elusive athletes on the track and the gridiron.

A unanimous First Team All-District selection in District 30-6A and a First-Team All-Area pick at wide receiver by The Monitor, Flores torched defensive backs and teammates alike with his unrivaled speed and acceleration on the perimeter of PSJA High’s air-raid offensive attack.

The Bears wideout was a game-breaking talent lined up outside who was a scoring threat anywhere on the field. Over the course of his three-year career, Flores tallied 170 receptions for a whopping 2,698 yards, 30 touchdowns through the air and an average of 15.9 yards per catch.

As a senior, he helped lead PSJA High to its second consecutive District 30-6A title and established himself as the Valley’s leading receiver after totaling 71 catches, 16 touchdowns and 1,412 receiving yards, ranking 14th overall among Texas high school football players of every classification.

Monday, July 29, 2019, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)

Flores, along with fellow Bears track stars and wide outs Ethan Castillo, Viggo Lopez and Marco Guajardo, a senior who’s committed to run track at UTRGV, made the PSJA High passing attack one of the most difficult area offenses to defend.

“Track speed has a lot to do with football speed when you take into account the shifting and all that. I just felt like once I caught that ball, it was like just me by myself,” Flores said. “My favorite route was a post, and I would catch that ball and just went. My quarterback and I had a good connection and I want to thank him because I wouldn’t have had 1,000-plus career receiving yards if it wasn’t for him, my offensive line and my other receivers.

“We had so many fast receivers, and I just felt like we were the best passing and receiving offense in the Valley. I just felt like we were unstoppable and that’s why we got our back-to-back district championships.”

After joining PSJA High’s track program as a freshman and competing mostly in team relays, Flores burst onto the scene as a sophomore.

The sophomore sprinter participated in the 200 meters in addition to the 4×100, 4×200 and 4×400 team relays and made the Bears’ relay team one of the best across South Texas.

To cap off his sophomore campaign on the track, Flores won 10 total individual and relay races throughout the course of the season.

He took home 2018 District 31-6A titles in the 200 meters (22.49), as well as the 4×200 relay (130.5) and the 4×400 relay (3:27.59). Additionally, Flores finished first in the 200 and 4×200 relay at the University Interscholastic League’s area meet before finishing seventh and fourth, respectively, at the UIL’s Class 6A Region IV meet.

But that was just the tip of the iceberg.

“I had actually made it to regionals my sophomore year for the 200, but I placed like eighth, so my coach started telling me that I’m a 400-meter runner,” he said. “Junior year I finally gave that a try and I actually ran faster than the guys who were already on the team. After that I gave it a shot in the 400 dash at the Border Olympics and I actually got first in that, so I decided I was going to go for the 400 after that.”

Flores continued to thrive as part of the PSJA High relay squad and added an individual regional title to his resume, clocking a new personal best in the 400 meters with a time of 48.18 seconds.

The Bears sprinter finished sixth overall at the 2019 UIL Class 6A Track and Field State Championships and was eager to improve upon his record-setting finish during his senior season, which was cut short after the UIL moved to first suspend and ultimately cancel the rest of the spring sports season due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

PSJA High Marco Guajardo (1) on the run in front of Eagle Pass defender Jacob Salinas(45) during the first half of a high school bi-district game at PSJA Stadium on Friday, Nov.15, 2019 in Pharr. Special to the Monitor Photo by Brittney Marvin

“I got calls from multiple colleges and different schools right after my junior season when I qualified for state. At first it was a shock to me because I didn’t know or expect that I was going to get that time. First place and going to state was shocking because I had never been to that level before. When I got to state, it was nothing but dogs and all these guys were talented and fast, so I had to get mentally prepared,” Flores said.

“Later on in the summer, I got a call from Incarnate Word, which was great. I went on my official visit a month later with them and then I fell in love with Incarnate Word. Coach (Rosemary) Dupree is a great coach and she brought me in, introduced me to all the athletes and they treated me like I was one of them already. I fell in love with the school and we just started gradually building a relationship after and I finally agreed and accepted the offer.”

With his commitment to run for the Cardinals, Flores becomes the latest student athlete to join a long list of talented PSJA High seniors taking their talents to the next level.

In addition to Flores and Guajardo, a Vaqueros track commit, PSJA High senior left tackle J.D. Vera and senior outside linebacker Jayden Arrington have signed to play college football at Division III Mary Hardin-Baylor and Texas Lutheran, respectively.

“We’ve been together since we were little kids playing baseball together and if it wasn’t baseball, it was football. Those were our two main sports,” he said. “Freshman year we were district champs as a freshman group, so we knew we were talented. We knew we had the talent on the female side too. Just to know how many 2020 seniors got offers and are going DI or DII and getting scholarships is crazy. I think it’s about 10-plus boys and girls, so that’s a great thing to hear.”

amcculloch@themonitor.com