July, 2014

now browsing by month

 

Juvenile center loses state contracts

juvenile center 2

Budget cuts impact local center, officials say

By Traci Chapman

Canadian County’s children’s justice center for the first time in recent years faces a lower budget than the year before, brought about by cuts in state contracts.

Bill Alexander, co-director of the Gary E. Miller Canadian County Children’s Justice Center, said Tuesday the problem begins and ends on the state level, where budget cuts caused Oklahoma Department of Juvenile Affairs and Department of Human Services to slash contracts with centers across the state. What that meant for Canadian County was programs basically funded by those agencies would be phased out over the coming months, Alexander said.

“We’re not completely pulling the programs, but we will only be serving our Canadian County kids,” he said. “We’re lucky we have the sales tax revenue to support that.”

According to financial documents provided by County Clerk Shelley Dickerson, last year the center received almost $3 million in contract revenues – almost $600,000 more than originally projected. For fiscal year 2015, officials are expecting just under $1.28 million in contract revenues, a more than 50 percent cut.

The two programs impacted by the cuts were sanctions and the Fort Reno group home. In the past, contract funds paid not only for out-of-county youth, but also covered the price tag for local individuals participating in both programs. With the change, the 24 beds currently filled in the group home would be cut down to 12, all holding county youth, Alexander said.

“Our biggest concern was to make sure we didn’t disrupt the programs of the kids currently in the group home,” Alexander said. “We also know that we’re losing staff positions and we didn’t want layoffs.”

The group home is a five-month program, and if individuals were forced to stop because of the funding cut, they would have to start all over, likely being put on a master state DHS waiting list, the co-director said. That would not happen, thanks to some work by center staff in negotiating a phase-out of the program for out-of-county participants, he said.

As for center staff, 25 positions will be eliminated because of the program changes.

“We are slowly transitioning so we don’t lay off any personnel,” Alexander said. “Some of our people can transfer to other county departments, some will find other jobs – it was just really important to us that we didn’t just tell someone, ‘Sorry, you don’t have a job as of today.’”

Last year’s center budget topped $8.6 million, with sales tax revenues projected at $6.05 million. According to Dickerson’s financial statement, actual sales tax revenues came in at just over $5.584 million. This year’s budget, approved Monday by commissioners, totaled $8.265 million. The justice center’s budget is retroactive back to July 1.

Other programs would remain as is and would not be impacted by the cuts, Alexander said. It was not known if the lost contracts were permanent or if things would revert to past practices once state revenues bounced back.

“That’s something none of us really know at this point,” he said.

Commissioners praised center officials for how they handled the situation, while criticizing some state moves in cutting contract rates with other counties across the state.

“I see there are cuts this year, but I am pleased with how you are handling the situation,” District 3 Commissioner Jack Stewart said.

“I want to express my feelings concerning the decisions of the state approving lower rates for counties that do not have juvenile facilities,” District 2 Commissioner David Anderson said. “It feels like they are penalizing proactive communities who have been diligent and invested in these facilities.

“This is something I would like to see brought up to the Legislature,” he said.

“This will be a transition year,” Alexander said. “We’ll slowly go to Canadian County kids only and not servicing other counties,” Alexander said. “What this contract did was it allowed us to have programs for Canadian County kids way before we had the sales tax to support them.

“Thank goodness the sales tax has grown like it has,” he said.

Top-30 current Mustang High School athletes: Nos. 11-15

column shots.qxd

Sports editor Kyle Salomon is counting down his current top-30 Mustang High School athletes in a six-week series of columns. This week is Nos. 11-15.

Here are Nos. 11-15 in my current top 30 Mustang High School athletes list beginning with No. 11.

11. David Parker, senior, football

David Parker can be summed in one quote from head Mustang football coach Jeremy Dombek.

“He’s the best athlete I’ve coached since Justin Blackmon.”   David Parker

Well, if that is true, then Bronco fans, you are in for a real treat this fall when Parker will dazzle you with supreme athleticism. The 6-foot-2 MHS wide receiver has the ability to beat his defender down the field for a long-range touchdown toss, and he also has the ability to go inside and go up and grab balls out of the air with defenders hanging on him.

If Parker can live up to his head coach’s bold statement about him, then we will have highlight reels every Friday night to look forward to this coming season.

12. Lance Frost, senior, cross country and track

Lance Frost will be one of the few harriers in the state this year who has a realistic chance to bring home the gold in cross country. Lance Frost One

Frost is one of the best male runners the Broncos cross country team has had, and they have had some good ones in their rich history of excellence.

If Frost can stay on the healthy side of things this fall for the Broncos, look out for the senior to be near the top or top of every race the Mustang boys compete in this year.

13. Geoffrey Hightower, senior, basketball

Geoffrey Hightower is the unsung hero of the Mustang boys basketball team, with highly-recruited division one prospects Jakolby Long, Austin Meyer and Curtis Heywood getting most of the notoriety on the roster.

The 6-foot-6 power forward averaged 10 points and nine rebounds in his junior season, but Hightower’s presence on the Bronco squad goes much more beyond the numbers. Geoffrey Hightower One

I compare Hightower to University of Oklahoma power forward Ryan Spangler. Spangler is not the tallest, quickest, most talented or most athletic player on the Sooners roster, but he is the heart and soul of the team.

Hightower fills that position nicely for Mustang. With Hightower leading the way and the rest of the roster the Broncos bring back this year, anything but a gold ball will be a disappointment.

14. Cutter Smith, senior, football and soccer

Cutter Smith is one of the top overall dual-sport athletes at Mustang High School. Smith will be the leader of the Bronco boys soccer team next spring when high school soccer kicks off in Oklahoma. Cutter Smith Two

Smith is a midfielder for the Mustang boys and he’s also a linebacker and running back for the MHS football team. The swift-footed senior plays both football and soccer with supreme intelligence, which is why he’s successful at both sports.

Look for Smith to have a big impact on the Broncos’ success on the football and soccer fields this coming year.

15. Marin Godwin, sophomore, cheerleading

Marin Godwin is what people like to call an up-and-coming star at Mustang High School. Even at her young age, Godwin is considered by many in Mustang as the face of the cheerleading program.

Godwin played a big role in helping the cheer squad earn national attention last winter as two Mustang cheer teams took top-five finishes at nationals in Dallas. Marin Godwin One

With Godwin as the face of Mustang cheerleading for the next three years, the Lady Broncos cheer squad will be in good hands.

Kyle Salomon is the sports editor for the Mustang News. He can be reached at [email protected].

Mustang comes together to show its heart

country charm web

Wow. Just…wow.

Mustang Kiwanis last week put out the call their food pantry shelves were bare and area families were struggling to make it through the summer. The result was an outpouring of support that surprised even longtime volunteers.

website commentary new.qxd

Let’s face it – we all know Mustang takes care of its own. Someone has a problem and people rush to help. Whether it’s offering prayers or a helping hand, this is a great community that cares for its members. Sometimes, though, people get busy – school is getting ready to start, the summer is winding down, and that can be expensive for all of us.

But that didn’t stop the more than two dozen people who have brought food to our office. Young and old, they have filled up the Kiwanis barrel – to overflowing – five times in as many days. On behalf of the Kiwanis and the people they help, we are beyond grateful to the people who have taken the time and the trouble to reach out to others in their time of need.

It was what we witnessed yesterday, however, that really got our attention, acts of selflessness and giving that topped even what I would expect of our residents. It was yesterday afternoon that first the Country Charm Day Care bus pulled up to our office. Out filed several children and their teachers, all holding at least one food item. They had collected things, they said, to “help the people who need it.” After smiling, letting us take their photo and filling the bin, off they went.

But that wasn’t the end of it. Shortly afterward another car pulled up. Out piled Christopher Maxeiner, Cyrus Maxeiner and Brock Carriger. The boys made several trips, carrying boxes and bags of food for the bin. The trio had read about the Kiwanis’ need and made a sweep throughout their neighborhood, asking those at home for their help. They were met with many who were willing to lend a hand.

These children are a great example to all of us. It would be easy for them to spend their last weeks of summer break playing and having fun. Instead, they chose to think of others, to give from hearts that inspire all of us to do more for those who need it.

Our task is not finished, of course. The Kiwanis food bank won’t stay full without us working to make sure it stays that way. Please, join in the effort – bring your non-perishable food items, paper goods, toiletries, whatever you can spare. Come in, have a cup of coffee, visit and let’s celebrate the goodness that is the people of Mustang, Oklahoma.

We salute you.

Mustang News office is located at 290 N. Trade Center Terrace. Regular office hours are 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Call Traci at 376-4571 or 664-4641 to make arrangements for item deliveries at other times.

Bread of Life makes heading back to school a ‘bash’

bread for life 5

By Traci Chapman

School supplies, backpacks, clothes, a new haircut – these are all things that are part of the back-to-school ritual.

They are also things some families don’t have or can’t afford. The Bread of Life Project recently worked to help change that. The third annual Back to School Bash helped more than 150 students get a good start on school, ready to go and with backpacks full of supplies, founder Kim Yoder said.

Kim Yoder

“Families who pre-register receive every single school supply on their school’s supply list – even the odd items like earbuds, play dough or baggies,” Yoder said. “Walk-ins are welcome too – we always have plenty of general school supplies to give out as well.”

The bash was held at Mustang Town Center and staffed by a group of volunteers as varied as the people they were helping. From church groups to students to hair stylists, each pitched in to help make families feel at home and get set for school, Yoder said.

“We were really fortunate to have so much help,” she said.

Yoder began Bread of Life Project in 2011. Wanting to help homeless and needy families, Yoder received a phone call from a group of women who wanted to join in on her efforts, she said.

“They had also been feeling led by God to serve the kids and families of our own community missions at home and found my website,” Yoder said. “We met, talked about our similar callings – to be the hands and feet of Jesus by serving our community – and have been together ever since.”

Alisha Kern

The group met with counselors across Mustang School District, kicking off food backpack and adopt-a-family programs for middle and high school students. As students return to school in August, the group will kick off its fourth year of sponsoring these programs, she said.

“The elementary schools were covered by the Oklahoma Food Bank, but we found out the older kids were falling through the cracks and going home hungry,” Yoder said. “The five of us meet every Tuesday night to pack the backpacks, plan out upcoming events, organize donors, sponsors and volunteers.”

The project’s sponsors and volunteers keep the project, and its various events, going, Yoder said. In addition to the Back to
School Bash, the project offers free financial peace and coupon classes each year, as well as a Christmas party, which for some families is the only holiday celebration they have. Last year, more than 200 people took part in the holiday party, she said. A new “Church Adopt a School Initiative” will begin with the start of school, connecting area churches with children and youth who need a helping hand, Yoder said.

“We rely 100 percent on the generosity of the community and we have never lacked a single thing we have needed; in fact, we always have more than enough,” Yoder said. “We are so blessed that God has chosen to use us in this way and has led so many to help us.”

While Bread of Life has volunteers and sponsors in place, the need is great and more help is always needed, Yoder said. Information can be found on the organization’s website, www.thebreadoflifeproject.com, or its Facebook page, which posts news and events at www.facebook.com/tbolp.

“The amazing thing about our group is that we are all from different churches in the community but we came together and continue to work together as a like-minded team, week after week, to help hungry kids and hurting families in Mustang,” Yoder said.

——

Bread of Life sponsors/community partners/volunteers

Helling Family Insurance – community partner and donor

Mustang Heights Baptist Church – clothing closet supplies all the clothes for the event

Ferguson Enterprises – provides all the food for the event

Canadian Valley Baptist Church – provides space for meetings, classes and event planning

Underwood Hotshot Service – community partner, donor, provides free storage space year-round

Henry Hudson’s Yukon – holds an annual auction and provides toys for the Christmas party, food for food pantry and school supplies for the back to school event

First Baptist Church of Mustang – Mother’s Day Out does yearly food and school supply drive, VBS does yearly school supply drives, Children’s Church volunteers stuff backpacks and do food drives

United Methodist Church of the Good Shepherd – provides space for events and school supplies

SW Oilfield – community partner and donor

Mustang High School Pon Pom Squad – volunteer at many events

Mustang High School baseball team – generous donors and volunteer at many events

Mustang High School National Honor Society – volunteer at many events

Mixon fumbles; Knight and Darlington shine

column shots.qxd

Final Point

By Kyle Salomon,

As I was sitting in my office earlier this week, I learned something about myself that I did not particularly like.

I found myself checking up at least once every hour on the recent story of OU running back Joe Mixon and his alleged assault of University of Oklahoma female student Amelia Rae Monitor last Friday morning at Pickleman’s restaurant, a sandwich shop on Campus Corner just outside of the OU campus.

The story is still under investigation by the Norman Police Department, but witnesses and videos say and show Mixon and his friends got into a verbal altercation with Monitor and her friends. There are conflicting reports that say Monitor struck Mixon across the face and then Mixon retaliated by striking Monitor and breaking numerous bones in her face.

The other report says Mixon and Monitor engaged in a heated verbal confrontation and Mixon struck her in the face with Monitor not assaulting Mixon first at all.

The fact of the matter is it doesn’t matter which report is accurate. It is never OK for a man to strike a woman in any way regardless if the woman strikes the man first.

The incident happened at 2:40 a.m. on Friday morning, which begs the question, why were they out at that time, especially with Mixon being merely 18 years of age?

What I found out about myself that I was not impressed with, was me sitting there getting angry about the possibility of OU losing one of its best recruits in the program’s rich history.

Mixon was rated as the No. 1 running back in the nation coming out of high school last year and when the Sooners coaching staff pulled off the minor miracle and convinced the California native to sign with Oklahoma, OU fans all over the world started having thoughts of the next Adrian Peterson entering Memorial Stadium.

I was angered because it seems like every year, OU football has to deal with situations where a key player or players either suffer season-ending injuries or has trouble with the law and is removed from the team or suspended for a long period of time.

The bottom line is I thought I was better than that. I would talk constantly about how ridiculous certain Oklahoma fans can be in these types of situations and how they think about nothing other than the football aspect and how it will affect their beloved Sooners on the field that coming year.

I proved to myself I was not better than that, and that is something I desperately need to improve about myself in the very near future.

All you saw on Twitter and Facebook over the weekend were comments from people saying horrible things about Monitor, Mixon, OU football or women in general. News publications from newspapers, websites, radio talk shows and television news and sportscasts dedicated most of their space and time to the Mixon story.

It was truly an example of how negative this world and especially the media universe can be.

However, I came across a story earlier this week that is both tragic and uplifting at the same time.

OU cheerleader Taylor Witcher was killed in an automobile accident on Monday and five others are still in serious condition. That is the part of the story that is incredibly tragic and sad. The part of the story that will bring happiness to your heart is what OU football players Trevor Knight and Ty Darlington did in response to the horrific news.

Knight is the starting quarterback for the Sooners and is very much a public figure in the entire state of Oklahoma, and Darlington is a starting offensive lineman for the crimson and cream.

Both OU football players led a prayer vigil on the South Oval on the University of Oklahoma campus, which had hundreds of people show up and participate in the gathering. Knight and Darlington didn’t know Witcher or anybody else involved in the fatal accident, but that didn’t matter to them. They used their pedestal for something good, and not something negative like so many others in their shoes.

Knight and Darlington are two famous major college athletes who went against the grain and didn’t fall in love with themselves because they can throw the football a long way or can run faster than most human beings on this earth. They chose to be a good example to others. They chose to be role models because they know they are.

After doing more digging into the two Sooner football stars, I found out they lead a weekly prayer group on the South Oval. They started it in June and it has been growing ever since. It took a tragic accident like the one that happened on Monday for this to be a story.

How sad is that for the media?

I know negativity sells, but maybe, just maybe if the media would take a stand and tell positive stories like the Knight and Darlington prayer group story, positivity would begin to sell as well.

I know for me, it has changed the way I look at my profession and my job. Yes, the Mixon story has to be told, but the Knight and Darlington story should be showcased.

Kyle Salomon is the sports editor for the Mustang News. He can be reached at [email protected].

CASA moves forward

casa 1 web

By Traci Chapman

Canadian County Court Appointed Special Advocates this week took its first step back toward its mission – helping children.

On Monday, Associate District Judge Bob Hughey swore in seven new CASA volunteers. The organization is a nonprofit, United Way partner agency that recruits and trains volunteers who work on behalf of children and youth who are involved in the legal system after being removed from their home or being determined as abused or neglected.

CASA volunteers are appointed by the juvenile court judge – in Canadian County, Hughey – and work as independent “fact finders.”  CASA advocates represent abused and neglected children, working with the court system and Department of Human Services to make sure all parties have completed information about a specific case.

“The new volunteers have made the extraordinary commitment to ‘speak up’ for these vulnerable children in court and to advocate for them until they reach a permanent home,” CASA board president Debra Roberts said.

Volunteers Alex Corbitt, Viola Dinwiddie, Kathy Islas, Ramona Liddell, Christi McRee, Angela Tunstall and Mary Young completed a 30-hour training program and will work about 10 to 12 hours a month as CASA advocates, Roberts said.

CASA was also recently certified by national CASA, officials said.

“The National CASA quality assurance process is very rigorous, and reflects our commitment to ensure every child we serve has the most powerful volunteer advocate working on their behalf,” National CASA Association CEO Michael Piraino said. “This certification says Canadian County CASA has demonstrated to us a strong capacity to provide excellent services to the abused and neglected children within their community.”

CASA volunteers work on behalf of children throughout the country, and a growing metropolitan area like Canadian County has a particularly strong need for individuals willing to stand up for them, officials said. Locally, there are more than 300 open cases in Canadian County involving the alleged abuse or neglect of children and only a fraction of those are represented by a CASA advocate.

“Canadian County CASA has a need for approximately 100 additional volunteers,” Roberts said.

Anyone interested in working as an advocate is asked to attend an informational meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 11 in Integris Canadian Valley Regional Hospital’s meeting room A/B. CASA’s next training class is slated to begin in late August or early September, officials said.

CASA will also be holding an Aug. 23 fundraising event. A Zumbathon is set from 10 a.m. until noon at Christ’s Church of Yukon, located at 620 W. Vandament. The $10 entry fee will be used solely to support Canadian County CASA, officials said.

For more information about CASA or the August event, contact the county office at (405) 264-5508 or [email protected].

 

Ridge building family legacy on the race track

Good

By Kyle Salomon,

Starting a family legacy can be a difficult challenge, but for Mustang resident Tanner Ridge, the challenge is accepted with open arms.

The 2010 Mustang High School graduate has been racing cars since he was the ripe age of 13 years old. He started out racing mini-sprint cars on dirt tracks and then in the past year has shifted to modified stock cars.

Ridge’s father was also a race car driver, but when Ridge turned 13,  he hung up his keys and let his son take control of the racing in the family.

Ridge had his first son nine months ago and he hopes to continue the family legacy by doing the same thing his dad did when he was a 13-year-old boy.

“I want to keep racing until the day I die,” Ridge said. “I love it. Or I’ll just race until my son is old enough to start his racing career and do the same thing my dad did and let him take over.”

The type of car Ridge races now is called a sport-mod, which means the car itself is more contained.

“The actual modified class is where you can do almost whatever you want to the car,” Ridge said. “That’s the only real difference between the sport-mod and the actual modified class. In my class you can only do so much. It keeps everybody even. You don’t have that guy that goes and spends $100,000 on a motor and wins every time.”

Ridge said most of the races take place in Lawton and Ardmore, but more tracks are being built around the area.

“There’s a new track out by Canton Lake. It’s about a mile from there and it’s called Long Dale. We’re hoping once the season starts closing up we will go try a couple of the new tracks. They also just opened one down in Wichita Falls. We plan on searching for more tracks and new places to compete.”

One of the reasons Ridge wants to find new tracks to race is seeing familiar faces on the dirt track every time you go to the same place.

“For the most part, there’s the same 20-25 guys there racing every week. You’ll have one or two new guys out there every now and then but that’s about it.”

Stock car racing is not a full-time gig for Ridge. He is an electrician for the Braums Farm in Tuttle. Ridge said he’s trying to get his electrician’s license and he’s a year and a half away from accomplishing that goal.

There are numerous professional series where stock car racing can become a full-time job, but Ridge said he doesn’t have interest in doing that.

“We do this because we love it. It’s a fun hobby for us. You have to have someone completely backing you financially in order to make it your profession because it can get real expensive real fast.”

When people are doing something they are passionate about and love doing, there’s a certain feeling that runs through their veins. Ridge is no different when it comes to racing.

“It’s a crazy adrenaline rush. It’s hard to explain exactly what it feels like. You’re so locked in, you don’t think of anything else. That’s all you can think of at that moment. For me, it’s almost a stress reliever.”

However, stock car racing isn’t the safest hobby to have in the world. Ridge said it can get pretty bumpy out on the track.

“It’s never personal or on purpose. Usually, someone isn’t going to ram you just to do it. We ride each other, though. That happened to me this past weekend. I was in fourth trying to get by the third-place car and he rode me for an entire lap.”

Winning is also in Ridge’s blood. He said competing is what it’s all about.

“We have won one feature race this year. The feature races are the main race of the night. We hope to keep getting more wins in the future.”

Ridge said having his infant son out at the tracks and around the stock-car atmosphere is important to him.

“He loves it. We rev up the engines and it doesn’t faze him at all. We want him to love being around it so when the time comes, he can take over and fill my shoes.”

Kyle Salomon is the sports editor for the Mustang News. He can be reached at [email protected].

County special ops team gets military ‘muscle’

MILITARY MUSCLE (West inside cockpit)

By Traci Chapman

As Canadian County’s population has grown and the threat to officers increased, officials say they needed to find a way to protect those officers.

Their solution came thanks to the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Support Office, which made it possible for the county to acquire an armored vehicle for “less than pennies on the dollar,” Canadian County Undersheriff Chris West said.

LESO works with the federal Defense Logistics Agency. Together, that partnership makes it possible for local law enforcement to procure at little or no cost military grade items that are no longer used by soldiers, West said. In Canadian County, the program has brought rifles and other similar items to local deputies, he said.

As the county has seen a surge in population – and with it, the potential for “high risk” situations facing officers and deputies, it was necessary to form a Special Operations Team that would not only handle sensitive or highly dangerous matters, but would also have the ability to offer aid to other counties when needed. Thus was created a Special Operations Team comprised of Canadian County sheriff’s deputies and officers from Mustang, Yukon and El Reno police departments, West said.

“No one in the county has a SWAT team, like other larger municipalities,” West said Monday. “This is our version of a SWAT team.”

With the team’s mission – handling dangerous and high-risk situations – in mind, West began looking for something to help transport members. An armored personnel carrier would be ideal, he said. Oklahoma Highway Patrol had the perfect vehicle, which could cost anywhere from $250,000 to $400,000.

That, the undersheriff said, was the problem.

“We didn’t have funds like that, so we knew we’d have to be creative with a solution,” West said.

(Photo/Glen Miller)

That’s where LESO came in. The agency came into possession of several mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles – MRAPs – and Canadian County’s special operations team could get in on the deal, West said.

“These were vehicles used in combat and built to withstand IEDs,” West said. “They were retrofitted with new engines and chassis, and the best part was we could get them for free – just a $2,500 administrative paperwork fee.”

West traveled down to Sealey, Texas, to pick up the vehicle, a Caimen built and retrofitted by BAE Systems. With all of the military hardware taken off, the vehicle would be the perfect protection for team members and the price tag was definitely right, the undersheriff said. It holds a driver and five passengers, he said. The “retail” price tag for the vehicle would be $733,000, he said.

“We’re into it for about $10,000 total, between the fee and painting it, things like that,” West said.

It’s a small price to pay to keep team members safe, the undersheriff said.

“This is a game changer, it’s a way for us to serve the public and keep our guys safe,” West said. “It’s a great deal for the county.”

 

Hadlock realizing dream on different path

Goalkeeping One

By Kyle Salomon,

One year ago, Colton Hadlock was preparing for his senior year at Mustang High School and his final campaign in the Bronco football program.

Hadlock was solely focused on playing football in 2013 for MHS and on his future, which he thought for sure was going to be playing collegiate football.

The 2014 Mustang graduate is now preparing to begin a new chapter of his life as he enters the world of college athletics beginning this fall.

However, as history has proved time and time again, the path is not what Hadlock thought it would be 12 months ago.

The 6-foot-5 sure-handed Hadlock has committed to play soccer at Southern Nazarene University after playing the sport for only six months.

“I would have told you, you were crazy if you would have told me I would be going to college to play soccer a year ago,” Hadlock said. “But I couldn’t be happier. I know this is what I am supposed to be doing.”

After the football season came to a conclusion last November, Hadlock was talking with numerous colleges about playing football at the next level.

During the winter holiday break, the Mustang High School soccer coaches approached Hadlock about trying out soccer and being a goalkeeper for the 2014 version of the Bronco boys soccer team.

With Hadlock’s height, long arms, athleticism and sure hands, the MHS soccer coaches thought Hadlock would make a top-notch goalkeeper.

“In the past I didn’t do it because I was so focused on getting ready for the next football season,” Hadlock said. “But last year was different because I didn’t have that anymore. I’m good friends with a lot of guys on the soccer team, so I thought it would be a lot of fun and I thought I could help the team.”

The transition wasn’t easy for Hadlock as he quickly learned that catching a soccer ball is entirely different than catching a football.

“They are just two different things. I was so used to catching footballs that it took awhile to get used to a soccer ball. I also had to learn how to kick the ball off the ground and place it down the field.”

One area of Hadlock’s football game that directly translated to the soccer field was the punting aspect of being a goalkeeper.

Hadlock was the punter on the 2013 Mustang football team and quickly earned a reputation for booming the ball down the field. He was able to use that skill in soccer as well as he would send the ball soaring through the air from the front of the net.

Hadlock said he never thought playing college soccer was even an option until playing the goalkeeper position became more natural with every game.

Hadlock said three Mustang soccer coaches are the ones to thank for getting him on the soccer field and working with him to develop his skills in the net.

“Coach (Jared) Homer, Coach (Chad) Long and Coach (Tyler) Wythe all worked countless hours with me helping me get to where I am. There is no way I would have this scholarship if it wasn’t for those three coaches. I owe them a lot.”

Hadlock said SNU was the right choice because of its soccer program, its proximity to his hometown (Mustang), and they have one of the best nursing programs in the state, which is what Hadlock wants to do with his career.

“It’s just a really good fit. I really like their head coach (George Schroeder) and with their nursing program being so good, I knew it was the right place for me.”

Hadlock said going into his freshman season this fall, he has one main goal in mind.

“I want to work as hard as I can and earn the starting job as the goalkeeper. They have no returning goalkeepers on their roster, so I am really going to push hard for that position.”

Kyle Salomon is the sports editor of the Mustang News. He can be reached at [email protected].

Dog Days of Summer Pet Tip: Enriching Your Dog’s Life

Woofstock

By Shawna Bostick, Friends of the Mustang Animal Shelter

We love spending time with our dogs. From cuddling on the couch to taking them with us everywhere we go, just spending time with them makes us happy. Taking a walk or going to the dog park are the typical go-tos for getting our dogs out of the house for some exercise and socialization, but there are many, many more options that you and your dog might find intriguing.

Here is an introduction to some of the fun activities that are available for people and their dogs. Although certain breeds of dogs may overwhelmingly populate some of these, most are open to any type or size of dog.

Agility

A fast-paced sport where the dog listens for commands to run an obstacle course. It is great for high-energy dogs of every size. It also helps build confidence in nervous dogs.

Tracking

Teaching dogs to tap into their natural ability to track scent. They learn to follow a scent trail, and then indicate the object at the end of the trail.

Flyball

A very fast-paced sport where dogs learn to work in a team of dogs to race, in relay fashion, over jumps, retrieve a ball, and race back over the same jumps, before the next dog in the team can complete the same task. Typically, this is done as a team of four dogs that race side by side against another team of four.

(Photo/Traci Chapman)

Disk Dog

In simplest terms, dogs jump for and catch Frisbees, but for those that compete in this sport, it is much more exciting. Two basic types of competition focus on Distance/Accuracy and Freestyle, where you can see some of the top teams’ jaw-dropping and high-flying tricks.

Lure Coursing

A sport created for sighthounds, although any breed of dog can take part. It involves chasing a mechanically operated lure over a large area. Think of it as a dog chasing a rabbit through a field.

Therapy Dog

Volunteering with your dog at places like hospitals, libraries, assisted living centers and with hospice organizations. Before being able to volunteer, the dog and its human are tested and then certified with a therapy dog organization. Good therapy dog candidates are good with people of all ages and dogs of all sizes. They should be well-mannered and quiet with a relaxed temperament, even when in a stressful situation. Volunteering with your dog to bring happiness to people can be hugely rewarding.

Obedience and Rally Obedience

Beyond basic sit and manners training, this training refers to training toward a focus and precision at the competition level.

Canine Freestyle

Teaching tricks and movements that are choreographed into dance performances between the dog and its human.

Barn Hunt

The dog uses its nose to find rats (in containers) that are hidden in a course of hay bales. The human must correctly read their dog’s signals, and then voice the location of the rats.

Herding

Dogs learn to respond to herding commands, and corral sheep, chickens, etc. Typically populated by herding breeds, like border collies, but any dog can learn to herd.

Earthdog

Created for terriers to work their instinct to track and kill vermin that hide underground.  The prey, or rat, is protected in a cage at the end of a small tunnel, which the dog must navigate.

Treibball

A newer sport imported from Germany that is similar to herding. Dogs take and follow commands to direct large balls through a goal.

Pulling

For dogs that love to pull, harnessed dogs learn to pull weights or other objects.

Dock Diving

Dogs jump distances into water to retrieve items. In competition, many dogs jump distances exceeding 20 feet.

Schutzhund

Experienced trainers work with their dogs in tracking, obedience and protection. This is not for novice handlers, and you should never try to teach your dog any type of protection behavior without first having an experienced trainer’s supervision.

Most of these sports are available to interested participants locally around the metro and around the state. Some schools offer classes to get you started, but there are also local dog clubs that offer classes to the public. Clubs typically charge less than schools.

Dog sports and training with your dog can be a lot of fun, but there are other benefits too. Besides the obvious exercise and socialization for the dogs, this also gets us humans out of the house for some socializing too; it can be a great way to meet new people. The dogs are challenged physically as well as mentally, so many behavior problems that stem from boredom are helped if not eradicated by regular participation in these types of activities. Even some of the most basic obedience training can do wonders for building confidence in frightened and skittish dogs, really helping them gain the courage to come out of their shell. Perhaps most beneficial is the noticeable increase in the bond that you will build with your dog.

Whether participating in an event once a month, going to class once a week, or whatever you make time to do, you and your dog will enjoy the extra time together, and benefit from the experience.