MORRISTOWN - Nick Pritts could be called a natural.
Competing in his first powerlifiting event, the 16-year-old Union Local junior made it a championship performance at the Kenton regional qualifier on Feb. 17. He combined his three lifts - squat (510), bench (365) and dead (540) to total 1,415 pounds, which easily outdistanced second-place Caleb Morgan, of Kenton, who put up 1,285.
With that effort, Pritts punched his ticket to the Bill McClain state meet, back at Kenton High School, on Saturday, March 8. The event begins at 10 a.m.
"It was pretty exciting for my first time," he said. "I'm looking to increase my total to 1,430."
A two-sport athlete for the Jets - football and baseball - the 250-pounder trains at Source Fitness in St. Clairsville.
"I got into weightlifting in eighth grade, mainly because of football," he noted. "I really liked it, so I kept on doing it."
So, how did the powerlifting come into play.
"I've got a couple of buddy's that are a good bit older than I am," he explained. "They used to powerlift and told me I'd have a good time doing it. I talked to (UL football) Coach (Bruce) Stiles about it and he said it was worth giving a try, so I did.
"I'd like to keep doing it," he acknowledged. "I've found a meet in Akron and another in Pittsburgh, but I'm going to take a some time after the state, probably a two month break just to let my body have some rest."
Last year's state champion - Symmes Valley's Tyler Celeski - only lifted 1,335 pounds in his three lifts.