Ebarb sets personal, Valley records at Region IV meet

SAN ANTONIO — Weslaco High girls track coach Pablo Almaguer described runner Amity Ebarb as a special athlete that only comes around once in awhile. That’s quite the statement considering the type of runners that have come through the program in recent years.

When Ebarb was an eighth grader, however, he saw her as a work in progress.

“During her eighth-grade year, I was at her district track meet,” Almaguer said. “I was standing next to my assistant coach and the first thing I told him was, ‘That little girl has something we can work with.’ She wasn’t winning races, believe it or not, but she runs so smooth. She did things with such ease. That bounce on her toes was awesome to see. We knew we had a diamond in the rough.”

The Panthers’ sophomore diamond shone brightest on Day 2 at the 2019 UIL Region IV track meet in San Antonio. Ebarb competed in three races — the 400-meter dash, 800-meter dash, 4×400-meter relay — and she won or was a part of all three gold medal-winning races for Weslaco High.

“It takes a lot of rest,” Ebarb said. “After each event, you have to, not just physically regroup, but mentally regroup yourself as well. You have to start thinking about each event one at a time.”

“She hasn’t stopped since the end of cross country season,” Almaguer said. “We were going to ease her into the 800-meter run this year. Right from her first meet, she was able to crack 2 minutes, 20 seconds. We talked about it and she decided that she could do it.”

Ebarb won the 800-meter run (2:11.74) by shaving more than a second from her previous personal best of 2:13.1 seconds. She went on to take the 400-meter dash title in dominating fashion with a time of 55.44 seconds.

Ebarb’s 400-meter time also set a Valley record. The old record belonged to Kathy Treviño of Rio Grande City, who finished third at the 2008 UIL Class 4A state meet in 55.90 seconds.

Edcouch-Elsa’s Vanessa Cerda races to the finish line in second place in the 800 meter run during the UIL Class 5A and 6A Region IV track meet at Heroes Stadium on Saturday, April 27, 2019, in San Antonio. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)

“I feel great and accomplished, but I still feel determined to do better at state, next year and the year after,” Ebarb said. “I still have two more years.”

Ebarb ended her Saturday as the anchor of Weslaco High’s 4×400-meter relay team. The combination of Ebarb, sophomore Emma Arndt, junior Jenna Martinez and senior Lisamarie Sanchez won the relay in 3:54.12 seconds.

“I was very confident with our group, even though we haven’t run Lisamarie (Sanchez) since the Meet of Champions three weeks ago,” Almaguer said. “We knew once we would put her back on, we’d get back to running to what we were capable of running. I told the girls that they were ready to run at 3:56 because we usually run it at under 3:55.”

For the Edcouch-Elsa Lady Yellow Jackets, Vanessa Cerda earned second place in the Class 5A 800-meter run (2:16.11).