All-County Weightlifting: Bradshaw achieves four-year goal

CHRISTINA KELSO@STAUGUSTINE.COM Menendez’s Seth Bradshaw won the 199-pound championship at the Class 1A boys state weightlifting championships.

Seth Bradshaw and Joey Lippo proved that real men do indeed cry.

 

On April 8, Bradshaw became Menendez High School’s first state weightlifting champion, an achievement four years in the making. And the tears could not be held back.

“I got a little teary eyed,” said Lippo, the Falcons’ coach. “It was an emotional moment.”

After completing his final lift, realizing he won the 199-pound title at the Class 1A championships, Bradshaw embraced his coach, iced his elbow and then shed a few tears himself as the impact of the moment began to settle in.

“It just comes over you,” Lippo said. “It’s a special moment for that person. One of the first things Seth said to me when he came off that platform was, ‘That was my goal four years ago, coach.’ You ask everything of a kid and they give it to you, it gets emotional. You hope the kid can attack the rest of their life the way they approached the last four years.”

Bradshaw’s total of 645 pounds (325-pound bench press, 320-pound clean and jerk) was 30 pounds more than his closest competitors.

The county’s first boys state weightlifting champ since Bartram Trail’s Will Tillo in 2014, Bradshaw is The Record’s 2017 Boys Weightlifter of the Year.

“This year was all about the state championship,” Bradshaw said. “I knew I was going to have a chance for a state title one day. Me and coach Lippo always had that in the back of our minds.”

Bradshaw’s arrival on Menendez’s campus four years ago coincided with Lippo’s. The coach had guided four state champs at Matanzas during a seven-year stint at the school in Palm Coast. When he first met Bradshaw, the freshman was a 130-pound running back who wanted to get stronger for football.

Lippo could see right away that this kid had what it took to one day stand atop the podium.

“He had the correct body type, and he had the work ethic,” Lippo said. “He bought in. He loved the weight room. Whatever you said, there was never a ‘No’, never a compromise. It was always, ‘What can I do?’ ”

Lippo mapped out a plan, as he does with all his lifters. He knew Bradshaw would grow into the 199-pound class by his junior year and have a chance to win the title as a senior.

But there were hiccups along the way, the coach and student admit.

“I had a big turnaround my senior year,” Bradshaw said. “I was hanging around the party scene and people noticed I was doing the wrong things. Coach kicked me out of the weight room for a good two or three weeks (after football season). That was terrible. He wouldn’t talk to me for a little bit. He was waiting for me to find my way back into the weight room by doing the right things.”

After several heart-to-hearts with some of his teammates and his coach, Bradshaw began to understand that strength of character was far more important than strength of body.

Bradshaw, some of his teammates, Lippo and a couple other coaches joined the Falcons’ softball team at St. Francis House to help feed the homeless.

“That was an eye-opening moment for all of us, helping people in need.” Lippo said. “It was humbling.”

Bradshaw also made time before school each day to help remodel the Otis A Mason Elementary School media center.

“I did some community hours to help out, and you find that it’s not about yourself, but what you can do for your family and your team,” Bradshaw said. “Once I found that out he let me back in the weight room.”

Lippo said the state meet in DeLand went exactly how he had envisioned four years ago. Though he was one of the lightest lifters in his weight class, weighing in at 188.8 pounds, Bradshaw and two other lifters entered the state competition tied for the No. 1 seed with identical totals of 625 pounds.

At state, he was in fourth place after the bench press. His 325-pound bench trailed Stephan Hardy of Trinity Christian by 25 pounds. But clean and jerk, the more technical lift, was Bradshaw’s strength. He waited through 52 clean and jerk attempts by other lifters until the bar got to his first weight of 295 pounds. Once Bradshaw completed that lift, the state title was in the bag, but he didn’t know it yet. He had two more attempts, and he completed both of them.

Bradshaw had an issue on the clean on his next attempt, 310 pounds, which tied his personal record. It felt heavy on this day, but he hit the jerk. Then Lippo had him do a clean-pull (lifting the bar up to his waist) of 340 pounds. That made his third attempt — 320 pounds – seem easy.

“I smoked it,” Bradshaw said.

No one else in the 199-pound class cleaned and jerked more than 275 pounds

“It was awesome,” Lippo said of Bradshaw’s final lift. “He hit it, got the down signal and we had a big old hug.”

That was when Bradshaw realized that after four years of hard work, the title was finally his.

Bradshaw, who moved from running back to linebacker as a sophomore, will continue his football career at Southeastern University in Lakeland. From now on weightlifting will be strictly a means to improve his strength for football. He’ll continue to bench and clean, but no more clean and jerks.

He wants to collect more hardware, but now strictly as a teammate winning conference championships.

“I feel like I matured a lot this year and became a better person,” Bradshaw said. “I’m glad everything happened the way it did.”

FIRST TEAM

119Brett McKendrick, Bartram Trail, So. Fourth place at districts, fifth place at regional with a 260-pound total.

129 — James Hicks, St. Augustine, Sr. District champ, regional champ. Ninth place at Class 2A state meet with a 230-pound bench press and 435 total.

139 — Austin Cline, St. Augustine, Sr. District champ, regional champ. Seventh place at state with a 470-pound total.

154 — Tanner Hill, Nease, Fr. Third at region with a 280-pound bench press and 505 total; 13th at state.

169 — Alex Newman, Bartram Trail, Jr. Finished second at Class 2A state meet with a 640-pound total (340 bench, 300 clean and jerk). He missed a state title by just five pounds. District champ, regional champ with a 620 total.

183 — Will Newman, Bartram Trail, Sr. Like his younger brother, Alex, Will Newman finished second at state, but with St. Cloud’s Josh Piasecki lifting 710 pounds, including a state-record 355-pound clean and jerk, this competition was not nearly as close. Will hoisted 655 pounds (330 bench, 325 clean and jerk). District champ, won regional title with a 635 total.

199 — Seth Bradshaw, Menendez, Sr. The Record’s Boys Weightlifter of the Year won the Class 1A state championship by 30 pounds with a 645-pound total. He was 25 pounds behind the leader after bench press, but his 320-pound clean and jerk was the best by 45 pounds. District champ; won regional title with a 625 total.

219 — Andrew Mims, Bartram Trail, Sr. Did not clean and jerk for the first month of the season because of January surgery to repair torn meniscus in his knee, but finished third in the state 2A meet with a 650-pound total that included the second best clean and jerk (330 pounds) in the weight class. That was a 25-pound improvement over his regional lift. District champ; won regional title with a 620 total.

238 — Derrick Leroy, St. Augustine, Sr. Competed at 219 pounds where he finished second at region with a 610 total and 14th at state; won the county/conference meet.

Unl. — Cam Davis, Bartram Trail, Sr. Seventh at state with a 695 total (360 bench, 335 clean and jerk). District champ, Second at region with a 675 total.

HONORABLE MENTION

129 — Sean McDonald, Bartram Trail, So. Regional runner-up with a 400 total.

139 — Peyton Thompson, Creekside, Jr. Third at region with a 430 total. Surpassed that total by 30 pounds at state to finish eighth, 10 spots above his seeding.

154 — Paul Siefker, Menendez, Sr. District champ, second at region. Eleventh at Class 1A state meet with a 490 total.

169 — Connor Aston, Bartram Trail, Sr. Third at region, 17th at state with a 535 total.

183 — Jackson Durden, Bartram Trail, Jr. 12th at state with a 595 total.

183 — Daniel Black, Menendez, Sr. Eighth at 1A state meet with a 550 total; regional runner-up.

183 — Ryan Rice, Menendez, Jr. Regional champ, 12th at state with a 535 total.

199 — Colby Carey, St. Augustine, Sr. Finished seventh at state with a 615-pound total, including a 330-pound bench press.

238 — Preston Jowers, Nease, Sr. Finished fifth in district with a 530 total (275 bench, 255 clean and jerk).

All-County schedule

Today: Boys weightlifting: Seth Bradshaw, Menendez

Tuesday: Girls track and field

Wednesday: Boys track and field

Thursday: Girls tennis

Friday: Boys tennis

Saturday: Softball

June 25: Baseball

June 26: Girls lacrosse

June 27: Boys lacrosse

 

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