Fremont teen sets American power lifting record

Published: Feb. 12, 2021 at 6:45 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Thomas Connell, 15, of Fremont recently set an American power lifting record for his age division at a USAPL competition in Lincoln.

Connell deadlifted 465 pounds, which set new best for the 14-15 age division in the entire country.

“I felt a sigh of relief knowing I worked all that time and got the reward, the record,” Connell said.

He said he got into the sport of power lifting simply because people would tell him he was too small.

He now holds 15 Nebraska state records across three weight divisions and four American deadlift records.

“It makes me feel good knowing that I proved them wrong,” Connell said.

He set the record in front of friends, family and mentors.

Mentors like Austin Perkins and Roberto Saenz. The two are power lifters for Midland University and currently are ranked as the top juniors in the world in their weight classes.

“He’s just a great kid. He’s better than I was when I was his age by far,” Perkins said. “The record he broke at that meet was amazing.”

Although Connell is a quiet, shy kid, he lights up around Perkins and Saenz.

They often give him tips on his form.

“I’m able to give him the things I wish I knew when I was his age,” Saenz said.

Connell’s actual coach lives in South Dakota, so he faces the challenge of having to get critiques via video chats or exchanging text messages.

Still, he feels like he’s on the path to greatness in the sport of power lifting and plans to get there, just like the guys he looks up to.

“He will get there. He will get there. It’s just a matter of his discipline, which he has. So, he will accomplish it. It’s just a matter of time,” Saenz said.

“Seeing what they’ve accomplished, that’s what I want to end up accomplishing,” Connell said.

His next goal is to win high school nationals, which would qualify him for the world competition.

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