If there really is strength in numbers, Central Texas should flex its muscles at the Texas High School Powerlifting Association state meet.

The meet is scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the Taylor County Expo Center in Abilene, and the Centex area will be well-represented, with 26 total state qualifiers across six divisions.

Crawford’s Cody Villa is the No. 1-ranked lifter in the 123-pound weight class of 2A, with a season-best total of 1,085 pounds. He’ll be joined at state by Crawford teammate Uriel Rodriguez (114 pounds). Axtell will send three lifters to state: Devyn Hebbe, Tanner Coone and Dylan Haralson, the pre-tournament favorite at 148 pounds. Reicher’s Roy Ward, Marco Castro and Allen Scott also will compete in 2A, while Clifton’s Jordan Allen, Teague’s Ryan Mitchell and Hillsboro’s Eduardo Cruz made the 3A field.

In Class 4A, Robinson could push for a state team title, with five lifters in the running.

They are Michael Bartlett, Manuel Rodriguez, Juan Villa, Ricky Thompson and Gustavo Bonilla. Mexia’s Quavious Gamble, who has amassed a season-best total of 1,595 pounds, is ranked second in the 242-pound class in 4A, while La Vega’s Byron Bryant and Jordan Rivera, China Spring’s Taylor Hull and Connally’s Marques Robinson will make their own quests for state titles.

At the Class 6A level, Midway’s Korey Chatman and Ryan Dean reached state, as did Belton’s Braden Martinez. Meanwhile, in Class 5A, Waco High’s Derrick Moore qualified at 242 pounds, and Temple’s Malik Stoutamire made the cut at 165 pounds.

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