Joel "JJ" Garcia

J.J. Garcia (20) dribbles arounds a Westwood triple team.

Superlatives and awards for the District 18-4A soccer class was released this week. Both the Palestine Wildcats and Westwood Panthers had several representatives on the team.

The Wildcats headlined many of the superlatives as the district's premier team and long-standing district champion.

Palestine's J.J. Garcia was selected as the All-District Most Valuable Player. He was the fifth Wildcat in history to win this award. He will continue his soccer career at Jacksonville College next year. He scored 18 goals this season, along with 28 assists.

Jonathan Sanchez was named District Defenisve MVP for the Wildcats. Sanchez he 10th All-District Defensive MVP in Wildcats’ history. Palestine won 28 of their 29 season matchups and were unblemished in district play, 10-0, in large part to their defensive execution.

Up until their 8-1 victory over the Mexia Blackcats, the Wildcats had not been scored on in 676 minutes of game time. They had posted clean sheets in 25 of their 29 regular season games.

Of course with a strong defense comes a strong goalkeeper and Christian Hutchinson was named  All-District Co-Goalkeeper of the Year – the third straight year he has had at least a share of this award. 

John Absalom, who had surpassed 600 career wins this season, was selected as All-District Coach of the Year. This is his fifth selection as the Wildcats’ coach. 

Five Wildcats made All-District First Team. Jose Sanchez (second selection), Lizardo Lemus (first selection), Luis Rangel (second selection), Yoriel Reyes (first selection) and Brian Armenta (first selection).

Four Wildcats made All-District Second Team, Jhan Vazquez (first selection), Arturo Nieto (second selection), Andy Garcia (first selection) and Tony Garcia (first selection).

Three Wildcats were selected All-District Honorable Mention, Michael Guzman (first selection), Michael Chaidez (first selection) and Diego Farias (first selection).

For Westwood, Sean Miller shared the Co-Goaltender of the Year award with Hutchinson. Miller had 166 saves on 235 shots on goal.

Samson Oparinde was the lone represantitve for the Panthers on All-District first team. Travis Joens made All-District second team, while Richard Jimenez, Christian Parker andKameron Carwell were all honroable mentions.

Editor's note: Individual team stories will be posted in the coming days.

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