By JONATHAN ZWEYGARDT
While TMP-Marian senior Braydon Binder didn’t initially love lifting weights, once he got started, it didn’t take him long to become one of the best young powerlifters in the country.
Binder won a state title as a junior and, earlier this year, set a national bench press record.
Powerlifting is made up of three lifts — bench, squad and deadlift (or clean in Kansas) and the athletes attempt to lift as much weight as they can for one rep. Each powerlifter has three attempts to complete the rep until they reach their maximum weight.
Binder began competing his sophomore year, finishing second at state, and said before his freshman year of high school weightlifting wasn’t something he was too interested in.
“I was never really like, a big guy,” Binder said. “I was trying to put muscle on. So, I originally just started getting into the gym just trying to do what I could do and then I discovered powerlifting was a thing, and it was kind of something I got interested in.”
As a junior, Binder claimed the 2A state title at 132 pounds. Nationally, he completes in the 60-kilogram weight class and 132 pounds in Kansas.
At last year’s state championship meet, he recorded the top weight in the bench press (215lbs), the second best mark for the squat (305lbs) and was third in the clean (180lbs) for the top overall score.
He holds several school records at TMP-Marian and state records in the junior division of the United States Powerlifting Association.
Binder set the national record in bench in the 16-17 age division last month at the Battle of the North in Mason City, Iowa, with a successful lift of 105 KG (231lbs).
He said when he started competing in powerlifting, he did not think setting a national record was something he could achieve.
“Showing everyone that if you have the dedication and you're willing to put in the work, anything's possible,” Binder said.
He also had a squat of 147 KG (320lbs) and deadlifted 170 KG (374lbs) at the meet in Mason City.
Binder said he also has his eyes set on trying to break the national squat record.
TMP wrestling and powerlifting coach Austin Tatro said that while Braydon might not fit the prototypical powerlifter body type, he makes up for it with his mentality.
“Brayden very much does not fit into what you would typically of a powerlifter but what he does fit into is that mentality, that mindset of I’m going to move this weight from point A to point B and I’m not going to let something stop me,” Tatro said.
Tatro also said that they have seen his powerlifting training improve Brayden’s ability on the wrestling mat.
“Most people don't really get to shove me around on the mat anymore because I'm stronger,” Binder said.
“Part of it is getting him to understand how he can use the tools that he’s built for himself,” Tatro said. “Toward the end of last year, we really started to put that together.”
Binder said he has continued to see the interest in powerlifting increase at the state high school level and even at TMP.
The high school season in Kansas runs from December to March while the nation season is all year round.
Tatro said he has seen Binder continue to grow both physically and mentally.
“Realizing that just because he may miss that mark this week , doesn’t mean that he is going to miss the mark next week or next month,” Tatro said. “Getting that mentality right, getting that headspace right has just absolutely catapulted his physical ability.”
Binder said winning a state title as a junior and setting a national record this year has only motivated him more.
“Powerlifting, honestly, isn't a sport against each other. It is a sport against yourself. It is going against your old version and trying to break personal records,” Binder said. “I think I think powerlifting can translate into life also how you always go against your old self and trying to be the better version.”