Interview by Larissa Chelius Photography and Nomination by Shawn Habermehl Photography California
The Nomination: Conner began competitive weightlifting his Freshman year in high school. The football coach at that time brought the sport to Whitney High School. Conner took to it immediately and started competing at a high level. He has attended a number of National competitions placing 4th in his first National in Michigan. Conner works out 3-4 hours a day six days a week. He is now gearing up for National Juniors in Chicago this month. On top of all of this he is an exceptional student very academic. Yet best of all he is kind and polite and very engaging. A wonderful young man. He would represent your brand perfectly!
How did you become interested in competitive weightlifting and how did you start?
I began Olympic weightlifting the summer before my freshman year of high school in preparation for football as that was my main sport at the time. Our varsity football program was getting a new head coach, Paul Doherty, who was coming over from Sacramento High School. He brought over the weightlifting program that he had implemented there. I went through my freshman year of high school football while participating in Olympic weightlifting workouts along with the rest of the team.
I didn’t think much about the sport of Olympic weightlifting until Coach Doherty mentioned to the football program that the 2016 Youth National Championships would be hosted in Austin, Texas that year and that he wanted as many people there as possible. I had been enjoying the Olympic lifting workouts immensely at this point and was really excited by the prospect of competing on a national stage in a sport that I had only just learned about. Despite my excitement, my parents were understandably hesitant about flying to Texas to compete in a sport that none of us knew very much about. They made me a deal, saying that if I could hit a clean and jerk, one of the competition movements, at 90 kg then my mom and I would fly out to Austin for me to compete. I spent hours in the gym trying to reach this goal and once I did, it was off to Austin to compete. From there, my love for the sport has only grown from year to year.
Tell me a little bit about all of your National competitions.
I’ve competed in quite a few national competitions. The most noteworthy being my first Youth Nationals in Austin, Texas where I competed as a 62 kg lifter, placing fifth and my third and final Youth Nationals in 2018 where I competed as a 77 kg lifter in Grand Rapids, Michigan where I took second with a 106 kg snatch and a 139 kg clean and jerk. I also competed at the 2017 Youth Nationals as a 69 kg lifter in Atlanta, Georgia and the 2018 Junior Nationals as a 77 kg lifter in Spokane, Washington where I took third in the youth age category.
How do you prepare for your competitions? Preparing for competitions is something that I’m always doing. Whether it’s training or just eating right and getting enough sleep, preparing for a competition is something that’s always on my mind. As competitions get closer, my training schedule is modified, such as reducing workloads so that I can get enough practice with the competition lifts in.
As a student at Whitney High School, what do you do in order to maintain good grades? It’s a lot of late nights and studying to maintain high marks. My workouts can take anywhere from two to three hours a night, so I typically get home pretty late. I have to use whatever free time I have to get assignments done so that I can get enough sleep to get through my long training sessions. I also spend a lot of time going over concepts with friends to make sure that I understand it fully before tests come around.
Conner will be featured in Issue 16, scheduled to be released on March 1, 2019.