Name: Ella Branson

School: Melissa High School

Sport: Powerlifting

College plans: Attend the University of Texas at Austin

Superstitions, rituals, or traditions before or after competing: Before every powerlifting meet, I would have one of my teammates do two dutch braids in my hair. It’s my lucky lifting hairstyle. Also, before every lift, I would always listen to the same playlist to get me pumped up, and then I’d down a Pixi stick right before going on to the platform.

Song or music that prepares you for competition: I have made my own meet-day playlist that has a lot of loud, upbeat rap music. Specifically, I’d like to give a shout out to Eminem, Papa Roach, Ski Mask and Post Malone for hyping me up all these years.

Favorite subject/class: I have always loved my science and English classes.

Favorite teacher and why: I can’t just pick one favorite teacher. I love most of the Melissa staff so much.

Favorite coach and why: Coach Alford is my favorite powerlifting coach because he has been with me all three years, and he saw me through my worst times as an athlete and helped me prepare for my best times. He treats everyone with kindness and is the best encourager I know.

Best teammate and why: I love all the powerlifters, but Brianna McGee is my girl! We lifted together, went to the trainer after workouts together and she has become one of my close friends.

Best high school sports memory: My favorite team moment was after our girls and boys team won the Ranchview meet, and we were all celebrating and just being goofy. Powerlifting can be viewed as an individual sport, but that moment showed me that by supporting and celebrating your teammate’s successes, it is so much more than an individual sport. Having a powerlifting community has made every moment more memorable. Also, my favorite individual moment was when I successfully pulled the deadlift that qualified me for the state meet. There was so much joy knowing that I had accomplished what I had been working for all throughout high school.

Best high school non-sports memory: During the spring break of my junior year, I went on a Spanish class trip to Chile. The country was unbelievably beautiful and I grew closer to some of my classmates.

What you love about your sport: I love the adrenaline that comes with attempting heavy weight. Also, it is the best feeling when you hit a new personal record.

Favorite sports movie and why: Does “Nacho Libre” count as a sports movie? Because if it does, I love that movie. It gets me every time.

Describe your school’s Class of 2020: Honestly, going into this year, I felt like there was not much special about our class. Now that all of this coronavirus stuff has happened, I know without a doubt we will be an unforgettable class. I have been in Melissa since kindergarten, and the kids that have been here a while are especially close. We have made our own little family. There are several people that I know will always have my back.

Biggest lesson learned: The biggest lesson I have learned through powerlifting is that your body can do much more than you think, you just have to get your mind right and work hard towards your goals. The biggest life lesson that I have learned is that no matter what happens, life goes on, and it is so much more fulfilling to face life with a positive attitude.

The biggest influence in your life: God is the biggest influence in my life. Having my faith as my rock has been incredible especially when things get challenging. Pursuing Him in my everyday life has been the best decision I have ever made.

Athlete you look up to: Ronda Rousey is a boss woman and I wish to be as tough as her one day.

Reaction to the season being canceled: It was heartbreaking knowing that I wouldn’t be able to finish out my season. But, it is comforting to know that I will still be able to powerlift in college and that all of this is apart of God’s greater plan.

Message to your teammates: Stay humble, stay weird and lift some heavy weight.

Message to your freshman self: Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and make as many memories as possible. High school is fun, you’ll miss it one day.

Thing you won’t miss at all: I will not miss Coach Huey’s crazy energy fueled by Bang every morning at 6 a.m. Just kidding, I’ll miss that a little.

Thing you will miss the most: There are a lot of things I will miss like the fat meals after weigh-ins, the competitive atmosphere at the meets, but I will absolutely miss my teammates and coaches the most.

Have a senior spring season student-athlete at Anna High School or Melissa High School that you wish to see spotlighted in coming weeks? Email their name, sport, contact information and a photo to