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Center Hill senior powerlifter Jamie Hernandez, right, displays several of his award medals with coach Case Ingram. Hernandez is a two-time MHSAA 5A state powerlifting champion, while attending classes and helping with his father’s masonry business.

Bob Bakken|DTT

A number of DeSoto County powerlifting athletes brought home medals from last week’s MHSAA state meet at Jackson’s Mississippi Coliseum, but only one likely had to hurry back and shorten the celebration, so he could help keep income coming in for his family.

Jamie Hernandez of Center Hill took home his second straight championship at the state meet, lifting a total of 1,620 pounds to take the 275-pound division title. The 1,620 pounds raised between the lifts of squat, bench press and dead lift are a Center Hill school and state Class 5A record, besting the 1995 record of Aberdeen’s Bobby Fort, when he lifted a total of 1,615 pounds.

In addition to Hernandez, three lifters from Lake Cormorant and one from Horn Lake took home individual titles during last Friday’s state meet.

While most of the competitors may have been able to savor their accomplishments for an entire weekend, however, Hernandez had to hurry back home afterward to tend to the family trade and contribute to a project on Saturday, working with masonry.

Hernandez pretty much was forced to take it all over last year when his father suffered a heart attack and could not work, threatening the family with a loss of income. Because of that, Jamie did not play football his junior year, but started in on powerlifting once he was able to after the football season was over.

Hernandez won his first state title as a junior, lifting a total of 1,590 pounds between the three events.

He returned to the football field this past season and also continued his powerlifting regimen, all while fitting in class time and working masonry.

“Sometimes he would go to work before he came to school and then come work out, be in school and then go back to work,” said Center Hill powerlifting coach Case Ingram. “Jamie is one of the most dedicated young men I have ever had the privilege of coaching. It has truly been an honor to be able to coach a young man of his character.”

For Hernandez, every day is a full day, between workouts, classes and working masonry.

“Every day I would wake up about 5:30 in the morning, get to school about 6:50 and work out until about 7:50,” Hernandez said. “Then I would go to class about 8:10 a.m. I would get out of school about 12 noon and go to work by 12:30 until about six o’clock, then get home and do homework and stuff and then go to bed. It was hard work but it paid off.”

Hernandez is quick to repeat how hard work paid dividends for him, a lesson his father has deeply impressed on him.

“Since I was a young boy my father taught me to be responsible and whenever you want something you achieve it,” Hernandez said. “When you put hard work into anything you can achieve anything that you want. I told myself I could be a second-time state champion and hard work pays off.”

Saying the second state title is a point of pride for him and his family, Hernandez said he would continue his education at Northwest Mississippi Community College, but whatever Jamie decides to do, the same determination and hard work should assure him of success, because as Ingram said, “They do not make kids like Jamie very often.”

Bob Bakken is Sports Editor and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.

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