March, 2014

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Test monitors needed

Mustang High School is asking for help with test monitoring in April and May.

Monitors are needed for end of instruction testing, MHS testing coordinator Joni Dillard said. Monitors help maintain security and ensure tests have been properly administered, Dillard said.

“They also assist with distributing and retrieving test materials and monitor that students are actively engaged in the testing process,” she said. “Any help would be appreciated.”

Testing will be done April 15, 17, 21, 29 and 30 and May 1 and 6, Dillard said. Morning test sessions run from 8 a.m. until noon and afternoon assessments are conducted from noon to 3:35 p.m. Twenty-six monitors are needed each day.

Anyone interested in helping should contact Dillard at [email protected] or 256-6930.




Molly Elizabeth Holder

Molly Elizabeth (Mahone) Holder passed away peacefully surrounded by the love of her family on March 16, 2014.

Molly Elizabeth Holder

She was the daughter of the Dr. M. Wilson and Abbe (Betty) Mahone.  She graduated from Hobart High School in 1973. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Centenary College in Shreveport, La. in 1977 and her masters in social work from the University of Denver in 1979. She married her college sweetheart, Larry Holder, in the summer of 1979.  They started their family with the birth of their daughter Lauren and added to their family with another daughter, Erin.

She began her career at the former Southwest Community Hospital in south Oklahoma City.  She also worked for the Okarche hospital and with hospice in both Madill and Clinton. After choosing to no longer work outside of the home, Molly decided to devote her time to the churches her husband served in El Reno, Wewoka Madill, Clinton, and Mustang. Molly was a lifelong professional volunteer.  She enjoyed spending her time participating in several organizations in the various towns she lived in. She also volunteered to lead several organizations her daughters were involved in.  She was an active member of National Association of Social Workers, PEO, and Business and Professional Women.  Molly was notorious for running on “Molly Time” which was at least fifteen minutes late, but she was “always just in time for the good stuff.” From church dinners to hospitality rooms to concession stands to holiday open houses to meals for family and friends, Molly just loved being in the kitchen.  When Molly wasn’t in the kitchen, she was the constant entertainer and always found a way to make people laugh. Over the years, Molly helped raise many of her daughters’ friends.  Several of these became more like part of the family.  Molly loved music; she could find a song for any occasion.  She was always singing or humming along to movies and musicals, much to the embarrassment of her children.  She enjoyed spending time with her dogs, reading, going to the theater and sleeping. Her greatest joy was spoiling her granddaughter, Madelyn, like any good “Poopiehead” would do.

She was preceded in death by her father, Dr. M. Wilson Mahone; and one brother, Michael Mahone.

Molly is survived by her husband of 35 years, Larry of Mustang; daughter and son-in-law, Lauren and Dr. Juston Weems of Prairie Village, Kan.; daughter and granddaughter, Erin and Madelyn Holder of Mustang; mother, Abbe Mahone of Oklahoma City;  brothers, Dr. J. Kelly Mahone of Hot Springs, Ark. and David Mahone of Oklahoma City;  father-in-law and mother-in-law, Bill and Jane Holder of Fort Smith, Ark.; two aunts and one uncle; several nieces, nephews and their spouses; many more family and friends; and numerous “children” that she helped raise and treated as her own.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that remembrances be made to New Day Camp, 1501 NW 24th St/, Oklahoma City, OK 73106; to Skyline Urban Ministries (via Mustang United Methodist Church), P.O. Box 180, Mustang, OK 73064 or a charity of your choice.

Memorial services are scheduled for Saturday, March 29 at 2 p.m. at Mustang United Methodist Church, 211 S.H. 152.  Services are under the direction of McNeil Funeral Home in Mustang, Oklahoma.

Aubrey Baty

Aubrey Baty, 84, was called home on March 22.

Aubrey Baty

Born May 3, 1929, in Enid, Okla., Aubrey lived in Medford until moving to Thayer, Kan., where he attended school until his senior year. He graduated from Marysville High School in California and joined the U.S. Air Force immediately afterward, serving four years. Aubrey worked for Bridgestone/Firestone until his retirement at 58. He filled his leisure time enjoying his cattle ranch, golfing, shooting pool, having coffee with longtime friends, spending time with family, vacationing and filling the leftover time just riding around the countryside seeing what had changed since his last drive.

Preceded in death by his mother, Opal Brown and step-father Ralph, his father Eugene Baty and step-mother Mildred, sister Najean Baty, and his son-in-law Pete Cox, he is deeply missed by his wife Elaine Sutherland Baty of 43 years; his daughters, Donna B Cox, Pam Hubbard (Howard) and Stacey Vascellaro (Adam); his sons, Rodney Baty (Jamie) and Scott Baty; eight granddaughters, six with their spouses; four grandsons; 14 great-granddaughters and seven great-grandsons.

Services will be 2 p.m. Thursday, March 27 at Western Oaks Christian Church in Bethany. Online condolences may be made to

Mary Agnes Parsons

Mary Agnes Parsons, 85, died Sunday, March 23, 2014 after a long illness.

Mary Agnes Parsons

She was born Nov. 28, 1928 in Oklahoma City to Dennis “D.R.” and Roberta J. (Wartchow) Majors. Mary grew up in southern Grant County and moved to the Oklahoma City/Spencer area as teenager. She was a graduate of Central High School in Oklahoma City.  Mary was a housewife, mother and grandmother and was a painter of fine china. She was a member of Mustang United Methodist Church.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Bill, one brother Bob and a niece Julie.

Survivors include one son, Larry Joe Parsons and wife Suzanne of Mustang; one daughter, Carol Sue Miller of Edmond; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Integris Hospice House or the Leukemia Foundation in care of McNeil’s Funeral Service.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 26 in the Chapel of The Good Shepherd at McNeil’s Mustang Funeral Service, with interment following in Yukon Cemetery, Yukon. Online condolences may be made at

Shirley Ann Powell

Shirley Ann Powell was born on Feb. 11, 1935 and went to be with the Lord on March 17, 2014.

Shirley Ann Powell

Shirley was the daughter of Raymond and Olive Hudson of Broxton, Okla. She graduated from Broxton High School in 1952, married Kenneth Powell and began a career as mother, homemaker and as a business administrator for Huston-DePue.

Shirley loved traveling, fishing, and watching OU and Thunder basketball games. Her greatest joys were her grandchildren Tyler, Kaitlin and great-grandson, Beckham. She was a wonderful mother and MeMe. She will be dearly missed.

She is survived by daughter Taina and husband Dale Erickson of Yukon and daughter Shelly and husband Tim Jackson of Dallas. Also, sister Neva Phillips of Ninnekah and brother Larry and wife Shirley of Moore.

The family would like to thank the Arbor House Assisted Living for their wonderful caregiving.

Tech center $12 million bond issue heads to voters April 1

(Rendering/courtesy MA+ Architecture)

By Traci Chapman

May 31, 2013, started out as a normal day at Canadian Valley Technology Center’s El Reno campus.

By the time the sun set, all nine of the buildings on that campus would be destroyed in an EF-5 tornado that would break records as the widest ever recorded – at 2.6 miles – and logging wind speeds as high as 296 mph, according to National Weather Service data.

On April 1, technology center officials hope voters will approve a $12 million bond issue they say will help the campus get back on track. Although some concrete and iron supports remain of the buildings at the campus, located on state Highway 66 on the far-east edge of El Reno, the complete rebuild of the campus is not covered by insurance settlements received by the school, Superintendent Dr. Greg Winters said.

“This would help pay construction costs and would add less than $1 per month in ad valorem taxes on a $100,000 home or property,” Winters said.

Voters throughout the county are eligible to participate in the election, Canadian County Election Board Secretary Wanda Armold said Tuesday. Anyone who lives within a Canadian County school district also lives in a Canadian Valley Technology Center district, which extends beyond Canadian County, she said.

“There is Okarche and Geary – those are not in technology center districts, and areas like Deer Creek and Cashion are in Francis Tuttle’s area,” Armold said. “Every one of our precincts will be open.”


As part of the planned center rebuild are safe rooms that could protect about 1,200 people, Winters said. Between 1,000 and 1,200 people attend classes or visit the campus on any given day, the superintendent said.

The May 31 tornado first touched down at 6:03 p.m. southwest of El Reno, demolishing houses south of El Reno Municipal Airpark as it traveled what would eventually be 16.2 miles, ending at 6:43 p.m.

Four other tornadoes occurred at the same time or shortly after the El Reno twister, all in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, including south of Mustang and Moore, which had suffered its own EF-5 tornado just 11 days before. Two of those were assigned EF-0 classification, while the others garner an EF-1 rating.

Although more people were killed outside Canadian County than inside its borders, Oklahoma City police said flooding – not tornadic activity – led to those deaths. Two families were found drowned after taking refuge in storm drains.

(Photo/Glen Miller)

(Photo/Glen Miller)

All of Canadian County’s victims were in vehicles, either on Interstate 40 or on or near U.S. Highway 81, Canadian County Undersheriff Chris West said. Those killed were 67-year-old William Rose O’Neal, a retired federal prison counselor from El Reno; Hinton rancher and truck driver Richard Charles Henderson, 35; Maria Pol Martin, 26, and her 1-year-old son, Rey Chicoj Pol, also of Hinton; Wilburton oil field equipment manager Dustin Heath Bridges, 32; and three professional storm chasers – 55-year-old Timothy Samaras and his son, Paul Samaras, 24, both of Bennett, Colo., and their partner, Carl Richard Young, 45, of South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

More than 120 homes and businesses were destroyed or seriously damaged as a result of the tornado and accompanying rain and hail, with the technology center and OKC West – located across Route 66 – taking a direct hit from the storm. No one taking refuge at the school was injured, although several teachers and students were there when the tornado struck, Winters said. Proposed tornado shelters would ensure that would be the outcome should the center ever be hit again.

“After all, it’s safety we are thinking of,” he said. “All of these other things – it’s difficult to replace them but they can be replaced.



“You can’t replace people,” Winters said.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., Armold said.

More size needed for Big 12 hoops’ teams

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Final Point

By Kyle Salomon,

For much of the year, the nation’s best college basketball conference was thought to reside in the heartland of the country.

Now, after the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament, the Big 12 Conference, which started the big dance with seven teams, has seen its large number of tourney participants dwindled to just two heading into the sweet 16 round.

With power schools such as Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State looking to lead the way for the Big 12, many college basketball experts thought the conference would have a strong showing in the tournament, but first-round upsets from OU and OSU and second-round knockouts by Kansas and Texas have tarnished those dreams.

Only two teams remain in play for the big prize. Iowa State and Baylor are headed to the sweet 16 after pulling off two victories in the opening weekend of the dance.

Iowa State won its first-round game with ease, but lost star forward Georges Niang to a broken foot for the remainder of the tournament. Many thought the Cyclones, who finished third overall in the conference standings and won the conference tournament, were going to go down to North Carolina in the second round because the loss of Niang would be too much to overcome.

Instead, ISU pulled it together for at least one more game and got a victory over the Tar Heels, advancing them to the sweet 16, where they will take on Connecticut with a good chance to win.

Baylor has had the definition of a roller-coaster season. The Bears started the season off red hot as they looked like a top 10 national team taking everyone they played behind the woodshed, but midway through the year the wheels fell off and Baylor had to scratch and claw just to get into the NCAA tournament discussion.

The Bears got hot for their stretch run and earned an at-large bid into the big dance. Baylor took down Nebraska in round one and then shocked the country with a 30-point beat-down of higher-seeded Creighton in the second round.

Despite the success of Iowa State and Baylor, the Big 12 has been a disappointment this March. The common theme in all of the conference losses has been the mismatches in the post for the Big 12 teams.

It’s hard to imagine mid-majors and even low-majors having more size than the likes of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, but it’s the truth.

North Dakota State dominated the Sooners in the paint. The Bison controlled the boards on both ends of the floor and took OU out of its run-and-gun style of play.

The Cowboys could never get into a rhythm against Gonzaga. The Zags knew they weren’t going to win an up-tempo style of game against OSU, so they slowed it down and pounded the rock inside to their big guys, who dominated the undersized Oklahoma State frontline.

The average size for a starting frontline in major college basketball is 6 feet 9 inches through 6 feet 11 inches.

Here are the sizes of all of the starting frontlines for the Big 12:

Oklahoma started Ryan Spangler and Cameron Clark in the paint this season. Spangler stands 6 feet 8 inches, and Clark was an undersized 6 feet 7 inches down low for OU.

The Pokes started the season with Michael Cobbins and LeBryan Nash starting in the post. Cobbins stands 6 feet 8 inches, and Nash is 6 feet 7 inches. Cobbins went down halfway through the season with a torn ACL, which knocked him out of the rest of the year. Kamari Murphy came into the starting lineup to replace Cobbins. Like Cobbins, Murphy also stands 6 feet 8 inches.

Kansas had the most talented starting frontline when fully healthy, but that was a rare case this season. Joel Embiid is considered by many as a top five pick in this year’s NBA draft if he decides to opt out early. Embiid struggled with back problems throughout the season, including the entire postseason. Embiid stands at 7 feet. Perry Ellis also starts down low for the Jayhawks. Ellis stands 6 feet 8 inches. When Embiid is out of the lineup, KU went with Jamari Taylor at 6 feet 8 inches.

Texas had good size down low this season, but the Longhorns didn’t have the year they had hoped for in the preseason. Cameron Ridley and Prince Ibeh started in the paint for Texas. Ridley stands 6 feet 9 inches and Ibeh is 6 feet 10 inches.

Baylor has the best overall size out of any Big 12 team, which is probably why they are still alive. The Bears go with Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson in the post. Austin stands 7 foot 1 inch, and Jefferson is 6 feet 9 inches.

Kansas State had a strong season, but its NCAA Tournament appearance came to an end in the first round with a beating at the hands of Kentucky. The Wildcats started 6-foot-11 Brandon Bolden and 6-foot-7 Thomas Gibson in the paint this season.

It’s surprising Iowa State has made it this far in the tournament when you look at its overall size in the post, but they have tremendous guard play, which doesn’t hurt. The Cyclones started Niang at 6 feet 7 inches and Melvin Ejim at 6 feet 6 inches, but without Niang, ISU will go with 6-foot-9 Jameel McKay.

West Virginia did not make the tournament, but had a short run in the NIT. The Mountaineers started Elijah Macon at 6 feet 9 inches and Jonathan Holton at 6 feet 7 inches in the paint.

Texas Tech had a season to forget in Tubby Smith’s first year with the program. The Red Raiders started Clark Lammert and Jordan Tolbert down low. Lammert stands 6 feet 8 inches and Tolbert is 6 feet 7 inches.

TCU had a miserable season in year two in the league and didn’t get a conference win this season. The Horned Frogs started Amric Fields and Devonta Abron in the post. Fields stands 6 feet 9 inches and Abron is 6 feet 8 inches.

The Big 12 is a deep and talented league, but if it plans on having a true national title contender anytime soon, the league needs to get bigger and stronger, not smaller and quicker. Just ask the SEC in football.

Educators to take funding case to Capitol

school funding

By Traci Chapman

A rally Monday is expected to bring thousands of educators, parents and students to the state Capitol with one goal – get legislators to take seriously the need for increased public education funding.

Mustang Public Schools will be at that rally in a big way, Superintendent Sean McDaniel said Tuesday. The issue is critical for both district and student success, as Oklahoma continues the battle to prepare upcoming generations for their adult lives, he said.

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“Our hopes are to accomplish two things; one, we want legislators to understand our local plight as a result of inadequate funding, and two, we want a substantial increase to common education funding this session as well as a viable long-term plan for funding common education moving forward,” McDaniel said.

Funding cuts have been an ongoing problem for several years, but the problem has recently intensified, McDaniel said. If education budgets are slashed further, those cuts could impact students in the classroom.

Sean McDaniel

Sean McDaniel

“Significant challenges that Mustang faces due to continued cuts to funding are inadequate staffing that will very quickly result in larger class sizes and cuts to programs and resources,” the superintendent said. “Additionally, our students in Mustang will begin to miss out on small group and one-on-one instruction as our class sizes get larger.

“Research is very clear that smaller class sizes do make a difference for students,” McDaniel said. “When you combine a large class size with a teacher who is less than a superstar, it will affect kids.”

Another side of that coin was the ability to attract – and keep – quality teachers. Offering competitive pay would mean educators would pick Mustang as their home, which would be the greatest benefit to students, McDaniel said.

“Reasonable pay – which I would define as the regional average as a start – would keep our teachers here and it would be a significant step in the right direction for our state,” he said. “The teacher is the single most important factor in a child’s success.

“By increasing teachers’ salaries to at least the regional average, we stand a better chance of recruiting and retaining our very best,” he said.

Those averages already impact Mustang, when teachers are lured to more lucrative areas or leave education completely, McDaniel said.

“We lose teachers from our state annually who leave the profession or move to other states because Oklahoma teacher pay is one of the lowest in the country,” he said.

Hope is on the horizon, McDaniel said. Rep. Lee Denny authored House Bill 2642, and if passed, the bill would mean $500 million dedicated to common education over the next 10 years, he said.

“Although this piece of legislation will not immediately restore funding to Oklahoma’s public schools, it will get us on a path that will help significantly,” McDaniel said.

Problems are not just at the state level, however, the superintendent said. There would always be ways districts could be more efficient and cut costs.

“We don’t believe this can just be a simple hand-out from our Legislature,” McDaniel said. “We believe we need to continue to be wise with our spending and do the very best we can to maximize the funds we do have.”

McDaniel said he believed the rally is critical to common education across the state, and that’s why he asked Mustang Board of Education members to cancel school that day. Although teachers and staff are not required to attend the rally, he said he believed a “strong show of support” would be seen – because everyone at the district knows exactly what is on the line when it comes to state funding.

“Our district will reach a point in the next three or four years, if we do not see an increase in funding, when resources and supplies and materials become scarce,” McDaniel said. “Thankfully, we have had responsible and intelligent people through the years in Mustang who have made very wise financial decisions for this district, and while that will certainly continue, we can only stand cuts for so long before it affects the classroom and the kids.”

The entire community is invited to be part of the rally, the superintendent said. An anonymous supporter offered to pay for drivers and rent buses to transport people to and from the Capitol. Parents, students and anyone interested in being part of the rally is invited, he said. Buses will leave from the north end of the Mustang High School parking lot at 8:45 a.m. and will probably return about 12:30 p.m., he said. Parking is available in the student lot, and individuals can also drive their own vehicle. Anyone wishing to attend can contact McDaniel’s assistant, Brenda Dunn, at 376-7399 by Friday morning, he said.

“This is a critical time in public education,” McDaniel said. “What happens on Monday, March 31 at the Capitol will make a difference one way or the other.

“If we get 20,000-plus parents, students, community members and educators to show up, it will send a very positive message to our legislators,” McDaniel said.

Love, loss part of life’s journey


Love and loss.

It’s strange how two words that sound so alike can be so different. Yet both are so much a part of our lives. Without real love, we can’t suffer true loss, but without loss we don’t always appreciate or remember just how much we have.

We’ve had a lot of loss in our work family lately. From the unimaginable loss of two El Reno teenagers – one, our own Jesse Gorbet – to the sudden death of our friend and co-worker Terri Grubbs, we have had the lesson that life is fragile thrown at us recently more than we’d ever like. But it is through these we also can remember those we’ve lost and how much they’ve brought to our lives.

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I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know Terri well. What I do know is she worked for our sister paper, the El Reno Tribune, for about 30 years, since before some of our staff members were even born. Terri did so many things that brought both of our papers to life, in both El Reno and Mustang – she was an asset to all of us and someone whose work took her far beyond the four walls of the El Reno office. She will be missed.

But the pain of loss also brings us lessons. For me, it was a loss that brought me to this desk writing this column now. My mom was one of those people who gave more than she ever received. She was my inspiration, my moral compass, my best friend. She was the one who told me, more times than I can count, that I should get back into journalism after 20-odd years working as a legal assistant.

After she was gone, I was lost and searching, trying to find ways – any way – to honor her memory and everything she had been. So I took the leap, took a chance and ended up at the Mustang News. Every story I write, every photo I take, I think about my mom and I know she’s happy. And she lives on, not just through me and her grandson and not just through the friends and family who loved her, but funnily enough also in a newspaper she had never even heard of.

Loss may have brought me here, but love is what has made the Mustang News what it is today. It certainly is what’s kept me here and is the reason I look forward to coming to work every day. We are not the same newspaper we were six months ago, we are so different, and I hope, better.

That’s because we have a group of people who love what they do every day. It probably sounds corny, but we like being with each other, we have each other’s backs, we love being a part of this community. We don’t just cover the news or sell ads or work at design – we truly want to make Mustang a better place because it’s our home too. My mom always said you could be judged by the company you keep, and every day I am blessed to work with some of the finest people I’ve ever known – both here in Mustang and in El Reno too.

These changes don’t mean the Mustang News of the past was a bad paper. It was just different. I’ve heard a lot of people say they didn’t realize there are two newspapers in Mustang, and in the past it was true that what you read in one you’d likely find in the other.

While to an extent that’s still true – there will always be stories universally important to everyone in our community – we’d like to think our change in philosophy shows in our content. Sure, we run the crime stories and if someone does something wrong, we’ll cover it. That’s our job. But we now are more about you – what you’re doing, what you like, what you’re interested in, what you’ve achieved.

We are proud of who we all are and what we believe in. We are here to tell the stories of our community’s and our residents’ success, but we are also here to help make that success a reality.

Love and loss. There will always be loss but more importantly there will always be love. And that’s something to cherish every single day.


Powerlifters take state championship

State Championship Team

By Kyle Salomon,

Mustang’s powerlifting team won the 2014 Class 6A state championship and the large-school overall state championship March 14 in the powerlifting state championship meet.

The Broncos pulled the upset over Midwest City, which had won the previous six large-school and Class 6A powerlifting state championships.

The state championship meet was held at McLoud High School.

The powerlifting meets consist of three types of lifts – the bench press, squat and dead lift. There are 11 different weight classes and each participating school has three in each weight class.

The 11 weight classes are 123 pounds, 132 pounds, 145 pounds, 157 pounds, 168 pounds, 181 pounds, 198 pounds, 220 pounds, 242 pounds, 275 pounds and the heavyweight division.

Most of the powerlifting teams across the state are made up of football players from their respective schools. Mustang is no different as every lifter in the program is a football player for the Broncos.

“I’m really proud of these kids for how hard they work every day,” Mustang coach Glennis Ring said. “They come ready to go to work with great attitudes and have great intensity. This was a great accomplishment, and it should give them a lot of confidence in football.”

Mustang placed nine lifters in the event. Junior Miles McFadden took fourth overall in the squat in the 123-pound weight class. Junior Preston Ochoa finished fourth overall in the entire 145-pound weight division.

Junior Chase Brown took first in the squat competition at 157 pounds. Brown was 5 pounds shy of setting the state record. Brown was second in the bench and finished second overall in the 157-pound weight class.

Senior Dakota Sellers finished second in the squad in the 168-pound weight division. Senior Frankie Edwards finished fifth in the bench press in the 181-pound weight class and sixth overall in the division.

Junior Jordan Umphreys placed second in the squat in the 181-pound weight class. Sophomore Luke Ring competed in the 198-pound weight division, placing fourth in the squat, second on the bench press and third overall in the weight class. If Ring would have won first-place overall, it would have been his third consecutive year.

Senior Jayden Ray lifted in the 220-pound weight division. Ray placed third overall in the dead lift. Junior Larry King competed in the 275-pound weight class, taking third in the squat.

The Broncos powerlifting team also won the Class 6A southwest regional and overall large-school regional championship, held at Anadarko High School.

Mustang competed in just three powerlifting meets this season including the regional and state meets. The only other meet MHS competed in was at Newcastle High School. They finished in second place right behind Midwest City in the Newcastle meet.

“I’m just really happy for all of the seniors,” Ring said. “Those guys really worked their tails off. I’m happy they will get to leave here with state championship rings.”

Ring said training during the powerlifting season included conditioning as well.

“We didn’t want to just stay in the weight room,” he said. “We know we are also training for football season as well, so it is important to work on our explosiveness and speed as well as our strength. A lot of other schools that compete in the powerlifting meets don’t do that.”

At the junior high level, Mustang’s Fabian Ramirez won the junior high state championship in the 90-pound weight class.

Now that powerlifting season is complete, many of the lifters will move into other sports such as track or start workouts specifically geared toward football.