By Theresa Sanders Gardner
Standing just under five feet tall, 11-year-old Tate Fegley is a force to be reckoned with in the weight lifting world.
USA Powerlifting-Louisiana introduced Fegley as the 2021 Youth Powerlifter of the Year. The subject of a feature article in Men’s Health and on a variety of news outlets, the young man from Minden garnered a positive national spotlight for the youngest division of USA Powerlifters. Fegley achieved bests of a 214 squat, 110 bench press and 259 deadlift while capturing a gold medal at the youth Nationals in Orlando.
Fegley’s mother Marla explained that although her son won the gold medal for his powerlifting, these numbers were not the young powerlifter’s best.
“Tate’s personal best on these three lifts are 130 for bench press, 230 pounds for back squat and 275 pounds for deadlift,” she said. “He was operating probably at 80 percent,” his mother explained. “He was dealing with a hamstring injury and knew not to push himself too much.”
The young weightlifter’s mother said they were surprised a few years ago when then 8-year-old Tate saw a weight of 130 pounds at the home of neighbors Lonnie and Amy Gray and wanted to lift it.
“I can lift that!” Marla said her son told her. She said her son lifted the weight that was much heavier than him, put it back down, looked at them and said, “I told yall I could lift it.”
Marla said they were all surprised that he could lift such a heavy weight and saw that he had an interest in powerlifting. Fegley then began training with the Grays and their son Peyton.
Fegley, now a fifth grader, said even though he has been competing in the sport for more than three years, he still gets a little anxious before each competition.
“I do get a little bit nervous,” he said, “but I just try to stay focused and determined.”
Along with his focus and determination, he can be found in the weight room routinely training with the Grays.
“He has always been pretty wise and serious when he is working with the weights,” Marla said. “He pays close attention to what he is doing; he is aware that he could get hurt. He has always been very mature about it. We are all very proud of him.”
Fegley is not unlike other boys and girls his age. His mother said when he is not training for powerlifting, he can be found playing baseball and occasionally video games.
When asked what advice he would give to a young boy or girl who is interested in powerlifting, Fegley said, “I’d tell them to start out slow. Use low weights and be safe.”
Tate recently competed in a Teen CrossFit competition in early November in Tennessee and finished second in the 12-13 age group (at 11 years old). He qualified for the USA Weight Lifting Nationals and will be traveling to Las Vegas for that competition.
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