April 18, 2017 9:41:14 AM
Adam Minichino - [email protected]
Brandon Bishop couldn't have scripted it any better.
Coming off a second-place finish last season in the 242-pound weight class at the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 5A Powerlifting meet, Bishop set his sights on making his mark in his final high school meet. The New Hope High School senior stayed focused on that goal by working out four times a week to make sure he was ready for the 2017 meet and his chance to win a state championship.
On Friday, Bishop reaped the rewards from that hard work by going through the squat, bench press, and dead lift without a scratch en route to a personal-best total of 1,640 pounds to win the 242-pound weight class.
Brandon's brother, Drew, added another title to New Hope's haul by winning the 181-pound crown with a total weight of 1,355 pounds.
Aaron West (third, 114-pound weight class) and Drew Williamson (fourth, 148 pounds) added to New Hope's fifth-place finish.
For their accomplishments, the New Hope High powerlifting team is sharing The Dispatch's Prep Player of the Week honors with the Caledonia High powerlifting team.
Brandon Bishop, a senior, recorded personal-best weights of 685 in the squat, 350 in the bench press, and 605 in the dead lift to win his first state title. Bishop said he felt like he could have gone for 700 pounds in the squat, the first event of the competition, but he didn't want to risk not getting off to a solid start. The decision turned out to the right one. Bishop had a 35-pound lead on Oxford's Xay Herod after the squat. He won the weight class by 10 pounds over Herod.
"If I wouldn't have gotten 700 it would have been bad," Bishop said. "I don't know if I could have gotten 700. I have gotten 700 (in practice), but I feel like I would have been a little too nervous to get it."
Still, Bishop relied on the focus he built through numerous workouts during the season to maintain his composure. New Hope High powerlifting coach Jonathan Cates said Bishop likely worked out more than the three or four times a week he claimed. That dedication helped forge a mental approach Bishop said was key to claiming a championship.
"I don't know if I worked out more than last year, but I had a different mind-set," Bishop said. "I had to go out with a state championship."
Bishop said the attitude was there from the beginning of the season. He said he wanted to take the next step after finishing third as a sophomore and second as a junior. Bishop said "it was crazy" to realize his goal, while Cates said Bishop couldn't stop "grinning from ear to ear" after he realized he won a title.
"I kept trying my hardest all year," Bishop said. "I have tried every year, but, like I said, it was just a different mind-set this year."
Drew Bishop, a sophomore, had lifts of 560 in the squat, 320 in the bench press, and 475 in the dead lift to win his first state title. Cates said Drew was able to take the next step because he did a better job listening to commands, especially in his squat. He said Drew went down far enough to record a valid lift after not going down quite far enough last season.
Bishop admitted he thought he was going to win a state title last season. He said the disappointment helped him listen to commands with more attention to detail. The 560 in the squat was a personal best by 10 pounds. The 320 was a personal best.
"I think getting lower in the squat was the reason I was able to lift 560," said Bishop, who tweaked his back earlier in the day Friday. He said he felt it even more following the squat. "I felt I was going to be able to deal with it."
Bishop said he took "a good bit" of Ibuprofen and received multiple applications of Icy Hot to his back in an attempt to make him feel better. He said the back rubs "sort of kinda not really" helped.
In the end, though, Drew's grin turned out to be just as big as his brother's.
"I always felt i was going to win it from the beginning of the year," Bishop said. "Last year gave me the confidence I was going to win. I was pretty mad about last year. It fueled me to win it this year."
Cates said both Bishops set the foundation during football season and continued to work hard into powerlifting season. He said Brandon and Drew showed the dedication and effort needed to realize their state championship dreams.
"You have the type of kid who is going to try to complain and not do everything. These are the type of kids who are setting that person straight or telling him he isn't getting low enough," Cates said. "These guys are more of a coach to some of the guys than I am because they are able to see everything in their area and they can tell who is putting forth work and who is not.
"I could sit in a corner and tell them what to do and never have to check on them because I know their work ethic and demeanor and mind-set was we have to get better and this is how we're going to do it."
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Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.