The Dominion Post  

Preston’s Bishop helps with VFD, excels on the mat

Created on:   Sat, Jan 6, 2018   12:16 AM

Last modified:   Sat, Jan 6, 2018   12:16 AM

The Dominion Post

KINGWOOD — If Preston High’s Hunter Bishop isn’t hanging out at the top of the PHS gym after school, he can sometimes be found a short way up the road at the Kingwood Volunteer Fire Department (KVFD).

The junior wrestler, who is having an impressive season on the mat, has another passion that he likes to follow when time allows — volunteer fire fighter.

While Bishop, 16, isn’t old enough to go out on calls and the department doesn’t have a juniors program, he finds other ways to help out and be involved.

“When I’m there, we usually check equipment, but Uncle Marshall helps me with drills — one we used the most is our 60-second drill,” Bishop said. “I usually attend to the breakfasts as well, which is what I have time for the most.”

Bishop helps sling eggs, bacon, sausage, hashbrowns, biscuits and the famous Preston County buckwheat cakes, and while he doesn’t mind in the least, he’s excited to eventually go out on a call like his grandfather and uncles.

Uncles Marshall and Perry Barlow and grandfather Joe Barlow have been around the KVFD for a long time, and Bishop can’t wait for his shot to join them on the scene.

“Not going out makes me feel anxious,” he said. “I would be excited and worried to go out on my first call.”

Until that time, Bishop hopes to keep improving on the mat, as he’s done all season. Heading toward the state tournament, which is Feb. 22-24, at the Huntington Civic Center, Bishop sits at 24-5 this season in the 138-pound weight class, hoping to get to the state tourney for the first time.

“I would feel great about myself for making it that far,” he said.

But Bishop hasn’t done it by himself. With the help of coaches Ike Dixon, Josh Fields and Steve Radabaugh, as well as teammates Blake Miller and Bailey Radabaugh, Bishop has been thankful for the help the PHS wrestling program has given him.

“It means a lot,” he said. “It helped me get better through the years, and my teammates helped me get better and so have my coaches.”

Bishop said he and Miller, a state qualifier last season, have wrestled together since both were in elementary school. Miller, a senior, helped Bishop with new set-ups and what to do during scrambles.

As for what Bishop sees with the state of the Knights’ wrestling program — a program in transition — it’s headed in the right direction.

“We have a good turnout this year, some are fresh, some have experience,” he said. “We just need to work with them to get better as the season goes.”

Whether it’s helping the KVFD or the Knights on the mat, Bishop is dedicated to whatever is in front of him.