Corbin H. Crable
While his teammates had their sights set on a state football title this year, Gardner Edgerton High School sophomore C.J. Hollingshead had loftier goals.
He attained that goal last month in Houston, Texas, where he broke the world record for deadlift
weight lifting in his class and age group. Hollinsghead, at 198 pounds, was entered in the 14-15 age category.
Hollingshead’s interest in weightlifting began when he incorporated it into his training regimen throughout the football season. It wasn’t long, he said, before he was shattering school records with ease.
“I started beating the school records, and I realized I’m pretty good at (lifting),” he said. “I decided to go on and do my best from there.”
Hollingshead focused his efforts on perfecting his performance in the deadlift, in which a lifter is required to pick up a barbell and hold it at the level of his waist.
“Once you pick it up, you have to hold it for about a second to show that you have it under control,” he said.
When Hollingshead broke the state record for the deadlift two months ago, he knew he wasn’t done proving to himself – and others – that he could go farther. Hollingshead immediately stepped up the intensity of his workouts leading up to the world qualifier competition on April 2 in Wisconsin.
“I just kind of stuck with my plan on training,” he said. “I trained a lot harder and put a lot more effort into it leading up to that meet.”
When he did travel north in early April, Hollingshead described the competition as “nervewracking.”
“The most I had lifted was 500 pounds when I went to the world qualifier,” he said. “As I was registering, they told me the world record for my weight class and age group. The deadlift world record was 545.5 pounds, and I was like, ‘Well, I’ve already done 500, so I’m going to set a goal for the weekend.”
Hollingshead lifted 520 pounds at that meet – and it was then, he said, that he knew claiming the world record was a possibility within his reach. And when he and his family finally did make the trek to Houston two weeks later, Hollingshead said he actually was less anxious.
Hollingshead ended up far surpassing the current world record for his weight class and age group, lifting a total of 562 pounds at the meet.
The moment that the barbell met his waist level and he heard the outburst of cheers from his parents in the crowd, Hollingshead said, his head was swimming with the gravity of what he had just achieved.
“I just felt really accomplished and surprised,” he recalled. “I had kind of doubted myself at the world qualifier, but when I did it, it was the best feeling in the world.”
Now, Hollingshead is already training to meet his next goal – to break the same world record in a different age category later this fall.
“I have another competition in November, and I will compete in a different age group. The world record for that age group goes up to 722 pounds, and I want to try for 730,” Hollingshead said, adding that he also will participate in the national
competition this December in Minnesota.
In the meantime, Hollingshead said, his recipe for success is basic; he works out twice a day, every day – once in the morning and again after school.
“And I don’t take anything,” he added. “No supplements.”
Hollingshead noted that his parents have been instrumental in his success as an athlete, always pushing him to reach his potential and beyond.
“My mom and dad (support) me because they know I’m good at this,” Hollingshead said. “And one of my cousins helped me a lot. He pushes me every day when I train with him.”
His mother, Rachel, said she is especially proud of how humble her son has remained throughout his success and growth as an athlete.
“He hasn’t lost himself,” she said. “He’s still the same kid that he was two or three years ago.”
Edgerton Mayor Donald Roberts, who has known the Hollingshead family for several years, said he is confident that Hollingshead will accomplish all he sets out to do.
“C.J. is a very well-mannered young man who is driven to success in anything that he sets his mind to,” Roberts said. “His mother and father have both instilled in him a great sense of family pride and a work ethic that will ensure a wonderful future.”