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Cleburne Finishes 3rd at Women's Powerlifting State Championship

                A record-breaking season for the Cleburne girls powerlifting program crested Saturday at the Texas High School Women’s Powerlifting Association 5A State Championship, with seven Lady Jackets teaming up to take third place overall.

                Junior Avery Tapia, whose qualifying lift total at Regionals earned her a ticket to State, came away with the gold medal in her weight division. In 2020, she missed advancing to State by one lift and made qualifying in 2021 a goal. She is also a member of the Lady Jackets Softball Team.

                Morgan Marvell, in her second year in the Cleburne program, lifted her way to the silver medal in her weight division.

                Top ten individual finishes in their respective weight divisions were also recorded by Allison Perez-4th place; Audra Parsons-6th place; Kylee Grigsby-7th place and Maddie Hargrove-8th place.

                “The best we can tell, this the most we have ever qualified for State,” Head Coach Jason Payne said. “I can’t begin to express how proud we all are of these young ladies in their achievements throughout the season--and how well they have represented Cleburne throughout the season. They have stayed focused, adapted to the circumstances of modified meet procedures due to COVID—and just competed.”

                Cleburne took a record number of 11 qualifiers to the Region II contest, held March 6, and hit a new record in those placing in the first and second places to advance to State.

Qualifying for the 2021 Championship was especially meaningful to Perez, who is a senior. She was the team’s sole 2020 state qualifier, but never had the chance to compete, as the contest was canceled as a COVID precaution. 

                Payne said Marvell was among the surprises at the Region II contest, posting her best lifts of the season.

                “Morgan excelled at Regionals in deadlift with a weight that was not on the radar,” he said. “We calculate each athlete’s projected lifts, and prepare them for that. For her to advance to State meant she would have to exceed those projections—and she did.”

The sophomore proved her personal power again on Saturday, lifting all the way to second place and a silver medal.

                Payne was hoping for “strength in numbers” as the Lady Jackets entered the State Championship, with double the number of competitors from previous years.

                “This has all been so incredible,” he said. “The past few years, we have seen a great interest in powerlifting—and this is a result.”

                The team will be honored by members of the CISD Board of Trustees at their April 19 meeting.

                Cleburne will now be represented at the 5A Boys Championship Meet taking place Saturday, March 27 in Abilene. Josh Rangel enters the contest as a Regional gold medalist in the Super Heavy Weight division. Josh Ramirez, who placed second in the 275-pound class at the Regional Championship held March 13 in Cleburne, will also be competing for the Jackets.