A record nine Mustang powerlifters Regional-bound

The tradition has continued for the boys in blue, as the Natalia Mustang Powerlifting program prepares for the Region 5 Lift Meet this coming Saturday in Bishop. A record nine Mustangs will travel to Badger County. Seven lifters and two alternates this year for the regional powerlifting meet at Bishop High School.
“We’ll have the biggest team we’ve ever had as we try to bring back the regional championship to our program,” Natalia Head Coach Ilyan Martinez said. “We will also be taking the youngest team we’ve ever had only having one senior competing and 2 seniors as alternates we’ll try to continue the tradition.”
The following is a preview of the athletes regional bound according to Martinez:
Senior Santiago Leija (Super Heavy weight class)
Santiago will be our most veteran lifter at Saturday’s meet as he will be attending his second straight regional meet and be competing for a regional championship as a senior. We’ll look for him to lead our team with a strong performance and a 1st place finish.
Leija ranks #3 in the region with a 1,525 lb. total which trails Diaz of Stockdale (1,595 lb. total) and Leal of Karnes City (1,585 lb. total).
Junior Julian Martinez (225 lb. weight class)
Julian will be attending his first ever Regional meet as a Junior and looks to contribute to our team with a top place finish in the 220 weight division. Julian has done a great job all year competing at a high level and Saturday will be no different. We’ll expect him to win his division and contribute to our team points and help us bring back the regional championship.
Martinez enters the meet with a 1,430 lb. total which has him in 4th place in the region trailing Gibson of Mathis (1,530 lb. total), Trevino of George West (1,510 lb. total) and Cordova of Rocksprings (1,470 lb. total).
Junior Oscar Ramirez (275 lb. weight class)
Oscar is attending his 2nd regional meet but in a bigger weight division this year. Oscar got a late start but we’ll expect him to make big gains and do his part to help us secure a team championship.
Ramirez ranks #10 entering the meet with a 1,265 lb. total. The top total in the region in this weight class is a 1,630 lb. total owned by Mascorro of Refugio.
Junior Victor Cruz (Super Heavy weight class)
Vic just missed making the regional meet last year and is excited for his opportunity to make the most of his first regional meet appearance. Vic has competed well all year and we’ll need him to improve his totals to finish a top of his division and give us a chance to bring back the regional championship.
Cruz enters the meet Saturday ranking #5 in the region with a 1,390 lb. total.
Junior Caden Freiga (198 lb. weight class)
Caden had a great finish to the regular season and gave himself an opportunity to continue to lift in post season competition. We expect Cade to have his best meet of the year on Saturday and help contribute to the team championship.
Fregia enters with a 1,170 lb. total which ranks #12. The best in Region 5 is Karnes City’s Mitchell with 1,510 lbs.
Sophomore Ryan Juarez (132 lb. weight class)
Ryan had a strong finish at the end of the year and will represent our sophomore class in the 132 division. Ryan has been right on track all year and we expect him to continue to increase gains moving forward.
Juarez ranks #11 in the Region with his 885 lb. total entering the meet. The best total in the Region is a San Diego Vaquero with 1,220 lbs.
Sophomore Manny Padilla (123 lb. weight class)
Manny has worked hard all year to give himself the best opportunity to win his first regional championship and give our team what it needs to secure our regional championship. He’ll have to have his best meet and we will expect him to compete at the highest level and win it for us like he has all year.
Entering the meet, Padilla (985 lb. total) ranks #2 trailing Yoakum’s Adrian Herrera (1,075 lb. total).
Alternates: Senior Alejandro Sanchez & Senior Javier Hernandez
At this point they are both sitting 13th in their weight division but continue to prepare so if and when the opportunity comes they’ll be ready to do their part to help our team bring home our 2nd regional championship.
“The opportunity has never been better and the expectations have never been higher,” Martinez said. “Our boys will have their work cut out for them but we have no doubt in their ability to go out and take care of business and continue the tradition of our program. It’s been a successful season up to this point and we couldn’t ask for a better group of young men to go represent our program and community this weekend in Bishop Texas. “
The Meet will begin at Bishop H.S. this coming Saturday! The most to ever advance to the state meet is four. Can the Mustangs break this record as well?

By Eric Smith
Staff Writer