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Mudd Volleyball Tournament is big time success in Mustang

Good Bad and Muddy Champions

By Kyle Salomon,

The annual Mudd Volleyball Tournament in Mustang had another successful year last weekend with 136 teams participating in the two-day event.

For the 13th consecutive year, the Muscular Dystrophy Association held its annual Mudd Volleyball Tournament in Mustang, and for the 13th consecutive year, the amount of money raised was higher than the previous year.

The 136 teams that participated in the tournament were the most in event history. All of the proceeds from the weekend will go to the Oklahoma region of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. First-year event coordinator Moira McCarthy said the 2014 version was a major success.

“I’m just really touched and happy that so many people are willing to help and are committed to this event for such a good cause,” McCarthy said. “It takes a lot to get a team together and to have 136 teams come out is truly amazing.”

The cost for each team to play in the tournament ranged from $300 to $425. The estimated total raised was $100,000, which is the most the Mudd Volleyball Tournament has raised in its 13 years in Mustang.

“Our goal is to make it fun for everyone that is involved,” McCarthy said. “We heard a lot of wonderful things from people who participated in the event about what a great time they had throughout the weekend. We had a lot of volunteers from 7-Eleven help us with everything from setting up to taking stuff down.”

The Mudd Volleyball Tournament had 17 total sponsors with 7-Eleven being the main sponsor for the event. The other 16 sponsors included Muscular Dystrophy Association, Newby Vance Mobility Sales and Service, John Vance Auto Group, Bob FM 96.9, Oklahoma City Party and Tent, Monster Energy, Budweiser, Wild 104.9, Digi Print, Silver Stallion, BTP Productions, Frito Lay, Pepsi, 96.1 KXY Oklahoma’s Classic Country, Katt Rock 100.5 FM and JAK’D Up Tees.

“There is no way this event would be possible without the help from our awesome sponsors,” McCarthy said. “All of our sponsors were really happy with how the tournament turned out. We all had a really successful weekend.”

The championship match of the tournament took place late in the afternoon on Sunday between the Good Bad and Muddy and the Mudd Dogs. The Mudd Dogs were undefeated coming into the final match, while Good Bad and Muddy had one loss. The championship match was the first one to win three games.

The scoring system was the first team to score 11 points won the game with the winning team having to win by two or more points. Only the serving team could score points.

Good Bad and Muddy swept the Mudd Dogs three games to none in the championship bout to capture the 2014 Mudd Volleyball crown.

After the final match, the championship team signed their autographs on a volleyball for Kenneth Carpenter and took a photo with Kenneth’s mother, Amanda Taylor.

For the past eight years the tradition has been for the winning team to autograph a ball for 11-year-old Kenneth and take a photo with his mother.

Taylor said the Mudd Volleyball Tournament is a special event for her family.

“We are so very thankful that this tournament supports such an important cause,” she said. “There are so many grateful donations. This is very personal to our family. We have been playing in this tournament for eight years and to see it grow the way it has is very special.”

Kyle Salomon is the sports editor at the Mustang News and can be reached at ksalomon@mustangnews.info

Hightower – the unsung hero for Mustang basketball

Geoffrey Hightower Two

By Kyle Salomon,

Mustang senior forward Geoffrey Hightower is entering his final year at MHS with high expectations for himself and for his team.

With highly recruited teammates such as junior guard Jakolby Long, junior guard Curtis Heywood II and junior forward Austin Meyer, Bronco boys hoops doesn’t lack any star power, but Hightower takes a backseat to no one when it comes to team leadership.

The 6-foot-6 post player said he has been working hard this summer to improve his overall game as well as playing with his AAU team, the Oklahoma Wizards.

“I want to improve my leaping ability,” he said. “I want to become more explosive off the floor. I also am working on improving my ball-handling skills and my quickness.”

Hightower said he knows and respects his role on the team.

“First and foremost, I want to be a leader on the team,” he said. “I want to be a guy that encourages my teammates and pushes them to be at their best all the time. I am counted to go inside and give a lot of energy in how I rebound, play defense and my overall hustle.”

That style of play is exactly what another power forward in this state does for his team down on the low block. That player, who resides in Norman and plays for the University of Oklahoma, is Ryan Spangler.

Spangler and Hightower are similar players in the way they approach the game and the way they use their bodies to push opposing players around in the paint area.

Hightower said he agrees with the comparison to Spangler.

“I like it,” he said. “I’ve gone down to OU and watched him play several times. He’s a guy that gives full effort all of the time. He never takes a possession off. He defends and rebounds with a lot of intensity. He’s not worried about the numbers he puts up or anything like that. That’s the way I like to play.”

Hightower averaged 10 points and nine rebounds last year for the Broncos, which is a solid year for high school basketball, but he said he expects more out of himself this upcoming season.

Hightower has traveled to numerous places throughout the summer competing in AAU tournaments, trying to improve his game and be seen by college recruiters. The MHS senior has played in St. Louis, Texas several times and Arkansas.

With the majority of the roster coming back and getting Heywood back from having to sit out last season, this Bronco squad is one of the favorites to win the 6A state championship next March.

Hightower said it’s important for the team to play together if they are going to achieve their goals.

“We need to listen to our coaches more,” he said. “We don’t need to try and play one-on-one. We need to talk more on the court and put the team first. We are all good friends off the court, so we talk a lot about what we can do to win a state championship.”

Mustang head coach Terry Long will enter his third year as head coach for the Bronco boys basketball program. Earlier this summer, Long was addressing his youth summer camp at MHS and told the campers of all the guys on his team he would draw up a play to win the game in the final seconds, it would be Hightower. Hightower said playing for Long is a great honor.

“He gets everything out of you,” he said. “He pushes you to be the best you can possibly be. He’s done so much in this state in high school basketball and for him to say that about me is truly an honor.”

Kyle Salomon is the sports editor at the Mustang News and can be reached at ksalomon@mustangnews.info

Learning curve – Emily Helms has successful freshman year at OSU

Four

By Kyle Salomon

The freshman experience can be a roller-coaster ride for first-year college students, even for eight-time state champion Emily Helms.

Helms graduated from Mustang High School in 2013 as the most decorated athlete in the history of Bronco sports. The cross country and track star won eight individual state championships and signed to run cross country and track at Oklahoma State University.

Helms said her first year went well for the most part once she got used to the training regiment of college sports.

“The biggest challenge was dealing with the time management,” she said. “Everything is up to you. You decide when and how much you need to study for your tests, you decide when you do your homework, when you eat, sleep and do your laundry.”

Helms red-shirted as a freshman this past year, but she said she used that time to her advantage.

“I was able to get used to the new training schedule,” she said. “I went from running 40 miles every week in high school to around 60 miles every week in college. I got to run during the winter indoor season. I would say I had an average year, but the most important thing as a freshman is to stay consistent.”

This summer, Helms has been prepping for a bigger role on the cross country team this fall for the Cowgirls squad. The former Lady Bronco said she has been training hard for the cross country season by bumping up her mileage as the summer progresses.

“It’s important to stay injury-free while you’re training,” she said. “I went to the USA junior track meet and competed and then I took a short break. I started training again this week and will continue for the remainder of the summer.”

The USA junior track meet takes place in Eugene, Ore., for high school runners and college freshmen. Helms said it was good for her to get some experience and compete.

“The meet is only for people 19 and under so the older, more experienced college runners can’t compete in the event. It helps a lot mentally going against runners that are more your speed.”

One thing college is always good for is showing someone their strengths and their weaknesses. Helms said she knows what she needs to improve on before she heads back to Stillwater in August.

“Mentally is where I need to make the biggest improvement,” she said. “I need to learn to stay more positive and develop more confidence. I need to become mentally stronger. I believe with more experience I can get to where I need to be.”

When asked to compare high school to college in one word, the word Helms chose to use after several seconds of thought was “freedom.”

Kyle Salomon countdown – Top 30 MHS athletes (Nos. 21-25)

Gage McBride One

Here is a look at my top 30 Mustang High School athletes, Nos. 21-25, starting with No.21.

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21. Kiante Miles, senior, football

Kiante Miles blossomed into one of the top players on last year’s football team with his strong play at cornerback for the Broncos. The cover corner has the rare knack to cover receivers like a blanket, but break off his coverage to go make tackles in the run game.

Miles isn’t the tallest player on the roster, but I wouldn’t consider him small. With the speed of a defensive back and the mindset of a linebacker, Miles can be lethal with a full head of steam running at you.

Kiante Miles

Miles is also one of the leaders on the football team. He’s demanding of himself in the way he approaches the game and he holds his teammates accountable as well to have that same mentality.

If Miles can continue to progress as a football player, he can become not just one of the most feared cornerbacks in the state, but one of the top defenders in the state as well.

22. Gage McBride, sophomore, wrestling

Gage McBride had one of the best freshman seasons in Mustang history in his freshman campaign for the Bronco wrestling team last year for the Broncos.

McBride finished the year strong as he finished in the top five of every tournament he competed in over the last month of the season. He qualified for the state tournament as a freshman, which at his 126-pound weight class is difficult to accomplish.

McBride is one of the several reasons Mustang wrestling has a bright future ahead of it. If the wiry sophomore continues to improve and get stronger as he matures, he is going to be one of the top wrestlers to go down in MHS history.

23. Skyler Fuller, sophomore, baseball

Skyler Fuller is one of the most talented young athletes at Mustang High School. The center fielder and lead-off hitter for the Broncos had a tremendous sophomore year on the diamond.

Fuller was one of the main components in the Bronco baseball team, winning 23 games a year removed from losing 17 seniors to graduation. He helped them to the regional final where they eventually fell at Westmoore.

With Fuller at the top of the lineup and manning the middle of the outfield for the next two years, the Broncos are sitting pretty solid as far as baseball is concerned.

Look for the strength to increase and confidence to soar and for Fuller to become one of the top baseball players in the state.

24. Brandi Hutchison, senior, soccer

Brandi Hutchison has developed into one of the top goalkeepers in the state. Her play down the stretch helped the Lady Broncos soccer team fight through a slew of injuries and get into the playoffs.

Who knows how far Hutchison and the Bronco girls could have gone if it wasn’t for the gale force winds they played in when Edmond North beat them in overtime of the quarterfinal game between Mustang and the Lady Huskies.

Hutchison also plays for the Oklahoma FC club team, where she helped lead them to a state championship this summer.

If the tall, athletic goalkeeper improves like she did from her sophomore to junior season going into her senior year, look out for what the Lady Broncos can do on the soccer field next spring.

25. Trey Edwards, sophomore, wrestling

Yes, Trey Edwards is the younger brother of 2014 Mustang graduate and all-world football player Frankie Edwards, but Trey can hold his own when it comes to sports in his family.

Trey had an incredible freshman season on the wrestling mat for the Broncos last winter. The 120-pounder qualified for the state tournament at a weight where most seniors struggle to have a winning record.

Trey will be one of the mainstays in the Bronco wrestling program for the next several years alongside fellow sophomore Gage McBride.

If Trey continues to develop, he and McBride could team up to be one of the best duos in the history of Oklahoma high school wrestling.

Perhaps Frankie would take Trey on the gridiron, but I’m sure Trey wouldn’t mind having a crack at his big bro on the wrestling mat.

 

 

 

Mustang has big dreams for new little league park

Three

By Kyle Salomon

New doesn’t always equal better, but in Mustang’s case with its new Little League baseball complex, new does in fact mean better.

After the first full season of spring and summer baseball, the Mustang Little League baseball facility passed its first test as an up and coming complex in the Oklahoma City area.

Mustang Parks and Recreational Director Justin Battles said he was pleased with what the new complex provided for the city in its first year.

“Overall it went well,” he said. “The process is still very green. We are still very much a young park. We still have work to do with concessions and restrooms. We will continue to grow and move in the direction to being what we want it to be in the future.”

Battles said there are always improvements to be made, especially after the first season, but he is happy with where they are in the process.

“We definitely call it a successful start,” he said. “We are going to focus on concessions and bathrooms right now as well as getting shade structures in place, trees planted and more walkways by the start of next spring.”

With the new complex continuing to improve, Battles said he expects the number of teams competing in the Little League will be on the rise.

“We firmly believe if we produce a premier facility, we will see more and more teams come to Mustang to play,” he said. Our goal is to have a complex that people are proud to call their own and enjoy it.”

Another benefit of having a new facility is having the opportunity to attract big baseball tournaments to Mustang. Different state tournaments and even some youth baseball world series tournaments are what Mustang has its eyes set on in the future.

“We definitely would like to see that happen,” Battles said. “Having a lot of teams here and having people here spending money in the city of Mustang would be a great thing. Hopefully, we can get to that point. That is definitely a goal of ours.”

Battles said the goal for the new facility and all the facilities at Wild Horse Park is to provide the citizens of Mustang with a facility they can be proud of and enjoy.

“We want to be a premier park in the state,” he said. “We want the people of Mustang to enjoy the park and have a good experience when they are here, whether it be for sports, on the walking path or on the playground.”

The next project the Parks and Recreational Department is going to focus on will be the youth football field.

Battles said they are still working on the field they have now, but they are not content with the current facility as it sits right now.

“We don’t know what exactly we are going to do yet,” he said. “We just know we are going to make improvements to our youth football facility. That could include improving the current facility or it could include building a whole new facility.”

Battles said the relationship between the city and the Mustang school district is a good one and they are working together to provide the citizens of Mustang with the best facilities in the area.

“Many of the current coaches are in constant conversation with us on how we can work together,” he said. “We have a great relationship with the school district. They are a big part of what we do and I hope we are a big part of what they do.”

Soccer completes first summer season

Cutter Smith Two

By Kyle Salomon

Mustang boys soccer completed its first ever summer season in program history last week with a third-place finish in the league.

The Bronco boys had a record of 3-2-1 in their six games they played. All of the games were played at Putnam City and Putnam City North high schools, and 16 different schools from the Oklahoma City area participated in the inaugural season.

Mustang head coach Jared Homer said he thought the summer league went well.

“It was really laid-back,” he said. “We were able to play a bunch of guys and everyone had a really good time doing it. We had 16 teams, so there was a lot of interest in it. After talking with several other coaches, we are definitely going to continue doing it in the future. Hopefully, we can even get more teams to come out and be a part of it.”

The teams competed in pool play for the first four games of the league and then played two tournament-style matches to end the season.

Mustang played Putnam City, Deer Creek and U.S. Grant in its pool. They defeated Putnam City and Deer Creek and lost to and tied U.S. Grant to finish second in their pool.

The Broncos faced their other No.2 seed in the league, Edmond Santa Fe. They fell to the Timberwolves, but responded with a 2-1 comeback win against Putnam City North to take third overall in the league.

The games weren’t the full-length, 80-minute games they play during the spring. The pool play matches were only two 20-minute halves and the tournament games were two 30-minute halves.

“I wanted to get some of the games over at Mustang, but since Putnam City and Putnam City North were the ones who started the league, they hosted all of the games,” Homer said. “Next year, hopefully we can get some games over at our field.”

Homer said since the games were so short and they didn’t have the full roster at all times, it was hard to build team chemistry, but he said they worked on different ways and different formations to try and score more goals.

“We struggled to score the ball last year,” he said. “We experimented a lot with our offensive formations. We want to see what doesn’t work and what does work. It’s really given us coaches a chance to try new things. We were able to get some young kids some experience against other teams as well. You can’t replace game experience.”

Homer said several players stood out to him this summer.

“I thought our goalkeeper Dylan Dean really had a solid summer,” he said. “He did a really good job of protecting the net. He’s a young, athletic, talented kid. We have big expectations for him going to forward.

“Guys like Cutter Smith, J.P. Junglen and Keegan Radichel had really good summers as well. All of those guys have chances to be leaders for us. We expect big things from all of them.”

On another note, with the end of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Homer said he wasn’t surprised at all to see the German team come out on top.

“They were one of the favorites going into the World Cup and they proved why,” he said. “They had the best overall team in the world. They were extremely deep. When you can bring a guy off the bench and he scores four goals in the tournament, that is really impressive.”

Chestnut retires all three batters faced in All-American game

Jayden Two

By Kyle Salomon,

When Mustang senior Jayden Chestnut isn’t striking out batters from other high schools around the area, she is striking out some of the top batters across the country.

The hard-throwing right-hander was selected out of thousands of girls to compete in the Triple Crown High School All-American Softball Game July 2 in Colorado.

There were 120 teams competing at the weeklong national tournament and no more than two players were chosen to compete in the All-American game from each squad. Chestnut was one of two players nominated to play from the Oklahoma Exclusive, which is her select softball team.

“It was a really cool experience,” Chestnut said. “I was able to play against some of the best players in the country. Almost everyone that played in that game is committed to play D-1 softball in college. It was cool to be a part of that game.”

Chestnut was more than just a part of “that game.” The University of Oklahoma commit pitched one inning in the contest. She retired all three batters she faced by getting the first two hitters to ground out. Chestnut closed out her inning by striking out the final batter she faced.

Chestnut and the rest of the Oklahoma Exclusive softball team competed in the Triple Crown College Showcase Tournament. The tournament lasted one week, starting June 30 and concluding July 6 in Aurora, Colo.

The Oklahoma Exclusive played 11 total games between pool play and the bracket rounds. The Oklahoma squad took fifth place overall in the event.

Chestnut made six appearances in the circle during the weeklong tournament. She made five starts and one relief appearance. Chestnut won all five of her starts in the circle and in her relief appearance came in to stop the bleeding against the Texas Glory, a top-five team in the nation.

Chestnut held the high-powered Texas team at bay, holding them scoreless after they put seven runs on the starting pitcher. It wouldn’t be enough for the Exclusive to make a comeback, however, as the hill was too steep to climb and they fell 7-6 to take fifth in the tournament out of 120 teams.

The pitcher’s circle wasn’t the only place Chestnut was successful in the tournament. Last Saturday, against a team called the Sudden Impact, facing a pitcher that she is going to be teammates with at OU, Chestnut hit a walk-off home run, breaking the 3-3 tie and giving the Exclusive the win.

“Doing that against my future teammates at OU was pretty awesome,” Chestnut said. “Two players from that team are committed to OU as well, so to beat them like that was a lot of fun.”

Chestnut said playing in big tournaments like the Triple Crown College Showcase is a lot of fun because it brings a tough challenge.

“It’s really difficult,” she said. “I like the challenge, though. I’m going against players that I am going to eventually face in college. A lot of players that come to these tournaments are going to pay D-1 softball. It’s also really cool getting the opportunity to play with some of the top players from around the Oklahoma City area.

“Select softball and high school softball are different in a lot of ways. It’s hard to compare them, but I definitely love doing both.”

Chestnut has one more select softball tournament this summer when the Oklahoma Exclusive competes at the national tournament at the end of July. School ball for Mustang will be her main focus following nationals.

Mustang makes new coach hires in summer meetings

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By Kyle Salomon,

Five new head coaches were hired this summer at Mustang High School.

Caitlyn Bernhardt was hired to be the head volleyball coach, Chad Harper was hired to be the boys golf head coach, Mike Meledeo will be the new head girls golf coach, Vickie Bailey was hired to be the next head girls cross country coach and Katy Caudle will be the new head cheerleading coach.

Caitlyn Bernhardt, volleyball

Caitlyn Bernhardt is a 2008 Mustang High School graduate. She grew up playing volleyball with her twin sister. Bernhardt and her sister went to St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee to play volleyball.

Bernhardt and her sister suffered injuries that forced them out of playing the sport they loved. Bernhardt transferred to UCO, where she finished school as well as coached volleyball at Deer Creek High School.

She was the head junior varsity coach at Deer Creek and ran the club volleyball program. Last year, former Mustang head coach Taryn Steele called Bernhardt to ask her to come be an assistant on Steele’s staff.

Bernhardt jumped at the opportunity to come back to her alma mater and coach volleyball and teach kindergarten. Steele resigned her position as the head volleyball coach in January and the position was left open until several weeks ago when she was called into athletic director Chuck Bailey’s office for a meeting.

Bailey offered Bernhardt the job, and at the young age of 24, she accepted.

“I had always dreamed of coming back to my alma mater and coaching,” Bernhardt said. “But I never imagined it would be this soon. I was in shock, but I am really excited for the opportunity.”

Bernhardt brought Jodie Miles on staff to coach the junior varsity and Holly McDaniel to coach the freshmen.

The Lady Broncos volleyball squad opened practice on Monday in the wellness center at Mustang High School.

Chad Harper, boys golf

Chad Harper has been a fixture as a coach at Mustang High School for more than a decade. Harper has coached boys and girls golf and football since 2002 as a part of the Bronco family.

Harper coached the junior varsity boys and girls golf teams for a number of years, but as both programs began to grow rapidly in size, he just focused on the boys side of the course.

Former head coach Galen Wolfe was hired to be the next head coach in the mid-2000′s and Harper stayed on staff to coach the freshmen boys.

Wolfe stepped down at the end of this season and Harper decided it was time to make a run for the head coaching position.

Bailey decided to go with Harper as the guy to lead the boys golf program into the future.

“We want to make it fun for the kids,” Harper said. “Golf is a stressful game, so the more fun you can make it for them, the better they are going to play. We have a lot of great ideas on how we can take this program to the next level, so we are looking forward to getting started with those.”

Mike Meledeo, girls golf

Mike Meledeo is no stranger to Mustang golf as the longtime Mustang High School teacher coached golf for the Broncos from 1979-1983.

Meledeo decided to get out of teaching in 1984 and open a driving range that remained in business for 10 years before he decided to get back into the teaching world at MHS.

When longtime girls golf coach Rod Henning resigned at the end of the school year, Meledeo decided to pounce on the position.

After meeting with Bailey, Meledeo was hired on to be the next man in line to take over a top-level program.

“I am very grateful for this opportunity,” Meledeo said. “I’m looking forward to the chance to work with the girls and be a part of a tradition-filled program.”

Vickie Bailey, girls cross country

There are smooth transitions with coaching changes and there are rough ones. Vickie Bailey taking the girls cross country program over is a smooth one.

Bailey has been an assistant girls cross country coach and an assistant girls track coach for a number of years at Mustang High School.

The cross country program at MHS is arguably the most decorated program on campus right now. Bailey said she is grateful for the opportunity.

“It’s exciting,” she said. “I know almost all of the kids and have learned a lot from working with Coach (Mike) McGarry and Coach (Mike) Mason over the years. There’s pressure to keep the program at the level it is at, but we are confident we will be successful.”

The Mustang cross country teams are practicing every Tuesday and Thursday during the summer at 7 a.m. at Wild Horse Park.

Logan Towe selected as USSSA 9U All-American

Batting One

By Kyle Salomon,

When Logan Towe and his parents were making the trip to Tulsa last month to try out for the 9U USSSA All-American baseball team, they went with no expectations.

When they arrived back in Mustang, the 9-year-old Mustang Valley Elementary student had been named to the USSSA All-American team and was selected to play in the USSSA All-American Tournament in Kissimmee, Fla., as a part of the Midwest team. Logan was one of 120 young baseball players ages 9 through 14 selected to participate.

The tryout tested the young baseball players in a variety of ways such as the 60-yard dash to measure their speed, infield drills to test their fielding ability, pitching drills to test their arm strength and accuracy off the mound and catching drills to test their pop time from the second they release the ball behind the plate to the moment the middle infielder catches it at second base.

Logan is a pitcher, third baseman and catcher, so he participated in all of the drills as well as the hitting drills, where the young slugger excels in showing off his rare power for a 9-year-old.

Logan said being around a lot of really good young baseball players like himself was a cool experience.

“There were a lot of kids there,” he said. “You got to see a lot of kids that you don’t know and you get to see what they play like.”

When he heard the good news that he had been selected to the squad, Logan said he was really excited.

The next step in the process will take place July 31 when the Towes travel to Kissimmee to compete in the All-American Tournament. The games will begin Aug. 1, with an opening ceremony that night.

The tournament will provide a four-game guarantee to each team participating, which includes pool play to determine the bracket. Once the bracket is set, the elimination round will take over for the remainder of the event.

Logan’s father, J.R. Towe, said the whole family was ecstatic when they heard the news.

“We try really hard to keep things in perspective for him (Logan),” he said. “He likes playing competitive sports, and that’s fantastic, but at the end of the day, he’s still a 9-year-old kid that gets to play baseball, so the whole time we made sure to tell him we were going for the tryout. The experience was for him to try out. We just took him because they get evaluated by ex-Major League Baseball players, MLB scouts, college coaches and high school coaches.

“It was going to be a really cool experience for him. We want him to be able to look back on this and have some memories. He certainly was excited when he made the team.”

Logan has been playing the game he loves since he was 4 years old. He said he fell in love with baseball the moment he started playing.

The 9-year-old phenom plays for a traveling baseball team called the Oklahoma Hawks. They travel all over the state and surrounding states such as Arkansas and Texas. They played a tournament in Arkansas earlier this year and are planning to go to Texas to compete in a world series later this month.

Logan said after it’s all said and done, combined with the travel team and his league team, he plays roughly 80 baseball games per year.

It would be many more baseball games, but Logan is not a one-sport athlete. He plays football and basketball as well. Logan is the quarterback and middle linebacker for his football team.

Logan’s football coach, J.R. Conrad, said the youngster is a hard worker.

“He has a tremendous work ethic,” he said. “He gets it. He does everything right. He’s an outstanding competitor, and he has a great demeanor. He’s never in a hurry. He has very composed emotions, which is extremely rare for a 9-year-old.”

As far as personal coaches are concerned, the Towes have surrounded Logan with some of the best sports minds around the area.

Former MLB All-Star and Silver Slugger Award winner Mickey Tettleton has been Logan’s personal coach since he was the young age of 6, and former NFL Super Bowl winner Billy Bajema taught Logan how to pitch.

“I’m good friends with his dad, J.R., so when he was getting out of machine pitch I worked with him,” Bajema said. “We worked on his form and his technique. He has a great ability to listen to what you tell him and make his body do it.”

Tettleton said Logan has a great ability to grasp things.

“He’s just an impressive kid in every way,” he said. “He understands everything we are trying to do with his swing and he wants to be great. It’s going to be exciting to see how good he can be as he gets older and stronger.”

When it comes to his future, Logan has dreams of getting a college scholarship to play baseball either at OU or OSU. He said he would like to be an engineer if he doesn’t make it to the MLB.

As far as MLB players and teams that are his favorites, Logan said he likes the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers, but his favorite baseball player is the great Yankee shortstop, Derek Jeter.

When Logan is not on an athletic field hitting home runs or running for touchdowns, he enjoys being a normal 9-year-old kid. He said he likes to jump curbs on his bike, go fishing, cliff dive into lakes and play Mind Craft, which he said will help him with engineering if he doesn’t play professional baseball.

There is no doubt Logan Towe has a bright future on the diamond and on the gridiron, but he is also a normal 9-year-old boy who enjoys being a kid, but also enjoys being a great athlete.

Broncos to use passing league wisely

Chandler Garrett One

By Kyle Salomon,

Last week marked the first two days of passing league for high school football teams across Oklahoma as numerous teams from the Oklahoma City area invaded Edmond Santa Fe.

Passing league will run two times per week throughout the month of July leading up to the start of fall practice, which begins in early August. Due to the shortened week of July 4, there was no passing league this week, but it will kick back up next Tuesday and Thursday.

Passing league is football without offensive or defensive linemen. Offenses will only run passing plays against opposing defensive backs and linebackers. Each team is allowed up to seven players on the field at once.

Mustang junior quarterback Chandler Garrett said passing league is another opportunity to get better before fall practice starts in August.

“It’s a great way to keep the passing game crisp,” he said. “It helps keep the timing good between me and the receivers, and we can do it while going against other teams’ DB’s and linebackers. We know it’s a little unrealistic because defenses aren’t going to drop seven into coverage that often when you have the threat of running the ball, but it’s still good for us.”

Garrett said a lot of people don’t think passing league is that great because teams play vanilla defense and it’s not a realistic example of the timing when you have linemen on the field.

“I think it does a lot for us,” he said. “It does a lot more than people think it does. Yeah, there are things that are a lot different. For instance, as a quarterback you don’t have defensive linemen or linebackers rushing you, so you have that internal clock in your head that tells you when it’s time to get rid of the ball. You get out of it what you put into it.”

On the defensive side of the ball, passing league can be beneficial in helping the secondary and linebackers on communication and different coverages they want to work on before fall camp.

Bronco senior safety Zach Davis said passing league allows them to develop chemistry as a group.

“Passing league is for our defense to help us with communication in the back end with one another and help us get our eyes right on what we are supposed to look for,” he said. “Yes, we will get burnt or drop some passes or make bad throws, but that’s OK because we are out there to get better in general.”

Davis said he would like to see a lot of improvement made as passing league goes along, so they are ready for fall camp in August.

“We have a lot of play-makers on both sides of the ball this year, so it is important that we use this time on the field we have to get better and smarter as a group,” he said. “It’s also another way for our young guys to really develop and get some experience against other teams. I would like to see it make us a better team overall.”