RAYMONDVILLE — Raymondville’s Andrew Cervantes and Emmalee Lopez both announced their intent to continue their athletic and academic careers with college signings last Friday.
Cervantes, an offensive guard for the Bearkats football team, and Lopez, a volleyball, soccer, and track standout for the Lady Bearkats, have been attached at the hip practically since the two each learned to walk.
“Me and Emma go all the way back to daycare,” Cervantes said. “My parents, they were busy a lot. My dad would be working out in the oil rigs and my mom was working with childcare services, so I didn’t have anyone to take care of me when my brother was at school. So my mom would take me to this daycare, and Emma was the granddaughter of the owner. We’ve basically been raised together, since we were months old. I consider her my sister.”
Maintaining that familial bond will be among the many challenges the two student-athletes will face when they begin the next chapters of their lives in the fall.
Cervantes plans to study kinesiology at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, 220 miles southeast of El Paso. He added he intends to obtain a master’s degree and a graduate assistant position, and will pursue a career in coaching.
Sul Ross State is an NCAA Division III program. The Lobos compete in the American Southwest Conference.
Raymondville coach Frank Cantu said Cervantes moved from tackle to guard and showed promise as a sophomore. Despite an injury that cut his first varsity season short, Cervantes kept working to ensure he would cement his place in school lore as a starter with the back-to-back District 16-4A Division II championships in 2018 and 2019.
“Since Andrew’s sophomore year, during regular season play we were 25-3,” Cantu said. “The offensive line, coming up together and getting better, definitely showed.”
Lopez is the latest in a long list of Rio Grande Valley soccer signees in Jarvis Christian College’s 2020 class, recruited by coach Demetrio Hernandez. Also, she will compete with the JCC track team.
“I’m most excited about just going to college and being away from home,” Lopez said. “And learning how I can succeed by myself. …. Learning how individually strong I will become.”
She said she will pursue a major in kinesiology and minor in nursing.
Recently, Hernandez hosted a meeting for incoming JCC student-athletes from the Valley at Weslaco High.
“We got introduced to each other, and exchanged phone numbers and social media,” Lopez said. “We got to learn the requirements and specific aspects they would be looking at. We just got to be more comfortable with each other in that moment.”
JCC is located in Hawkins, 113 miles east of Dallas. The Bulldogs compete in the Red River Athletic Conference within the NAIA.