Grand Island teenage power lifter raises the bar

DJ Cornelius put his name in the record books with an incredible showing on a national stage

GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) —  DJ Cornelius may only be 15 years old but, he is one strong kid.

“I started powerlifting when I was 11 or 12 when my Dad introduced me by watching him lift,” DJ said.

In those four short years, DJ became well trained in squating, bench press and deadlift.

So much so, that he followed in his father’s footsteps competing in powerlifting competitions. None bigger than one on April 8th.

“To me it was just another meet to go to just with bigger goals to achieve.”

One of those goals? Break a National record in deadlift.

“You have to be like this is when it has to matter and pull it and once it gets past your knees you know you are golden.”

The previous record for his age and wight class was a 380 pound lift. On his second attempt, DJ deadlifted 390 pounds.

And on his third, and final lift hit 408 pounds. shattering the old record.

“I had gotten closer weights in the past before. Might as well just go all in.”

Making for one proud lifting partner, and father.

“Every year his weights and totals are going up by hundreds of pounds,” Don Cornelius said. “I am seeing a young boy become a young man and I can’t even express the pride I have.”

Setting records isn’t DJ’s only goal with powerlifting. It helps fuel his other favorite sport, football.

“I am a lineman so I have to get in the trenches and push people to help my guys get through. Powerlifting has definitely has made football easier with training and what not.”

The Grand Island freshman has big dreams for the future.

“To go to the NFL without a doubt. and if not, be the best powerlifter I can be. Anyone can do it, you just have to have the dedication and determination to do it and to go out and train.”

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