Meridian Star

Sports

May 1, 2014

Meridian High School powerlifter grabs Class 6A state title

MERIDIAN — Andrew Bator picked up weight lifting in the eighth grade and quickly got hooked.

    The Meridian High School senior recently won the MHSAA Class 6A state title in the 198 weight class. The long journey to greatness began with trips to the gym with his father, Steve Bator, and springboarded once the younger Bator made it to high school.

    “I grew to love it,” Andrew said. “I’m the type of person who will go to the gym two to three times a day.”

    Steve said he son was telling the truth with that statement. In fact, Andrew would go at any time of the day, including past their bedtime.

    “He’s a stubborn kid,” Steve said. “He would drive me nuts. Once he got involved, he would (lift) no matter what time it was and make us come. There would be nights his mom would be with him at 11:30 at night and would sleep on the bench while he lifted.”

    The hard work paid dividends for Andrew in a number of different ways. By benching 355 pounds, squatting 615 and lifting 685 pounds on the deadlift, Andrew set the All-State total record for the 198 weight class. The 685 mark on the deadlift broke a 6A record, and he almost lifted 705 pounds for an overall state record. The 615 pounds he squatted was also a 6A record. He was one of two Meridian boys to win state in their weight class, the other being sophomore Joshua Grant in the 114 weight class.

    The accolades don’t end there, however. Bator is ranked No. 1 overall in the state as a powerlifter according to how he finished and is No. 12 overall in the country. In the 198 weight class, he is No. 2 overall in the country.

    “It feels great,” Andrew said. “It’s great to be one of the best in the state, but it’s even better to be in the same breath as all these kids from Mississippi and Louisiana. It feels like all my hard work is paying off.”

    Andrew’s accomplishments also cause his father to beam with pride.

    “I can’t say how proud I am of him,” Steve said. “He does everything I ask of him.”

    In addition to his father, Andrew credited his football and powerlifting coaches for helping develop him during his four years at Meridian.

    “I was strong when I got here, but with their help, they got me to where I am now,” Andrew explained.

    Andrew began lifting in the eighth grade in order to put on muscle for football. He actually didn’t begin powerlifting until his junior season, however.

    “I didn’t really know about it (until then),” Andrew said. “But I love lifting, and I thought I might as well do something else in the offseason.”

    Meridian powerlifting coach Demetrius Hill said he was glad Bator made the decision to join the squad, as his leadership was extremely valuable.

    “He motivated the other kids,” Hill said. “If we came in here, we wanted to see what he was doing and see his positive attitude. The other kids look up to him — the other seniors as well.”

    With Andrew graduating, Hill said replacing him would be impossible.

    “You can’t replace him,” Hill said. “For me, when I’m eating something wrong, I look over and he’s eating a ham sandwich. That makes me check what I do.”

    A linebacker in football, Andrew has a full scholarship to play at Bentley University, and he credits powerlifting and MHS’s overall strength program as helping him get to the next level.

    “I feel like Meridian High’s strength program should get more recognition,” Andrew said. “It’s one of the best in the state. You can ask anyone who’s come through here — if they put in the work, they got stronger.”

    Andrew is also the son of Cathy Bator.

 

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