All-Valley Tennis Awards in focus as state meet begins

The UIL Tennis State Tournaments begin today in College Station, and the two boys singles players representing the Valley are among the nominees for Boys Tennis Player of the Year and Girls Tennis Player of the Year.

The winners will be announced at the 2017 All-Valley Sports Awards Banquet on June 10 at Mario’s Banquet & Conference Center in Mission.

Former San Antonio Spurs forward Robert Horry will be the keynote speaker.

The nominees for Boys Tennis Player of the Year:

>> Joaquin Delgado, Sharyland Pioneer: Delgado, a senior, followed up his Class 5A state silver as a junior with another trip to state. He won the District 31-5A singles championship in straight sets and earned silver at the regional tournament despite battling illness. He also signed to Abilene Christian University in the Southland Conference.

>> Nick Martinez, Lyford: Martinez, a 6-foot-1 senior, is set to compete in the UIL Class 3A state tournament for the second time in his career.

>> Jack Wang, McAllen Memorial: Wang wrapped up an impressive career with his fourth consecutive district singles title. The Mustang was the model of consistency for a team full of young, impressionable talent. He won the District 30-6A tournament in comeback fashion by a 6-2, 6-0 margin in the final. He reached a state rank as high as No. 9 this season.

The nominees for Girls Tennis Player of the Year:

>> Grace Bell, Harlingen South: Bell, a senior, was a consistent force for the Hawks this season, advancing to the regional tournament after taking gold in the girls singles division at the District 32-6A tournament.

>> Chantel Lozano, Roma: A season after winning the District 31-5A singles crown, the senior became a doubles champion, too. Lozano teamed up with Monika Cantu, who was her competition when they both played singles. The pair had instant chemistry and cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 final-round victory at the district meet.

>> Valerie Montero, Harlingen South: Montero, a sophomore, continued to impress this season, advancing to the regional tournament for the second straight year. This time, she did it as part of a mixed doubles team with her brother.

The Banquet, hosted by 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.

Tickets for the catered banquet, which will run 6 to 8 p.m., will be available soon at a cost of $40 per person. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. For more information, contact Marcia Kitten at 956-683-4463.

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.