Five state qualifiers are among the nominees for Boys Swimmer of the Year and Girls Swimmer 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 Swimmer of the Year:
>> Shaine Casas, McAllen High: Casas, a junior, had another outstanding season in the pool, repeating as a district and regional champion. At the UIL Class 6A state meet, Casas earned silver medals in the 200-yard IM with a final heat 1:47.59 and in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 47.88.
>> Trevor Heath, Sharyland Pioneer: This season was a strong debut for Heath, a Diamondbacks freshman. In his first district meet, he helped Pioneer to its first boys district championship in program history, earning two gold medals. He swam a 2:16.46 in the 200 IM and a 5:21.67 in the 500 freestyle.
>> Luis Osuna, Los Fresnos: Osuna, a sophomore won the 500 freestyle at the District 32-6A meet and took second at the Region VIII-6A meet to earn his first trip to the UIL state meet. Osuna is known as a diligent athlete who works unceasingly. He routinely swims between 9,000 and 10,000 yards during his practice sessions.
The nominees for Girls Swimmer of the Year:
>> Hannah Bradford, McAllen Memorial: Bradford earned three gold medals at the District 30-6A meet and then another three during the Region VIII-6A meet. Her golden times were 2:13.40 for the 200 IM and 1:08.28 in the 100 backstroke. She also won district gold alongside her sister, LiLi, in the 400 relay.
>> Maya Athena Imperial, Brownsville Hanna: Imperial, a senior, advanced to the state meet for the third time in 2017. Her premier events were the 500 freestyle and 200 IM, plus relay events. She won those events in District 32-6A and took second in them at the Region VIII-6A meet to earn a return trip to state. In April, she signed to swim for Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.
>> Ina Te, McAllen Rowe: Te has been a force in the pool at Rowe for four seasons and put an exclamation point on her career at the Region VIII-6A meet. Te won gold at regionals in both the 50 and 100 freestyles with times of 25.00 and 55.38, respectively. She was also the anchor to both of Rowe’s gold medal-winning relay teams at the regional meet.
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.
Tickets for the catered banquet, which will run 6 to 8 p.m., are available through each newspaper’s website 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.