Valentine’s powerlifting talent grows

Powerlifting has quickly become a way of life for William Valentine.

Last month, the 2016 Manson Northwest Webster graduate was rewarded for all his hard work and determination by earning top honors in the 100kg Raw weight class in the 18- and 19-year-old junior men’s division at the USPA National Powerlifting Championships.

Valentine, who now lives in Somers, competed in the deadlift, squat and bench press against California residents Julio Reyes and Manvir Dhanoa at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.

His winning total was 1,362 pounds.

“I had to qualify in April at another meet to make nationals,” Valentine said. “I was initially going to nationals to break the world record in the squat, but I had health issues the day before. I was cutting weight, which drained all the water from my body to the point that I couldn’t see and was low on nutrients.

“I ended up bumping up a class to 220, so I could get some fluids back in me.”

Valentine deadlifted 529 pounds, squatted 524 and benched 309 en route to his title.

“The world squat record for juniors 18 and 19 in the 198-pound weight class is 551 pounds,” said Valentine. “I previously was hitting squats at 565 to 570 before my health issues. My goal now for April is to be in the 181-pound weight class.

“I’m hoping to squat 600, bench 350 and deadlift 630.”

Since he first began powerlifting in February of 2014, Valentine has noticed a dramatic increase in his overall strength.

“When I first started, I was around 240 pounds with a body fat percentage close to 45 percent,” Valentine said. “I squatted 90, benched 70 and didn’t deadlift at all, because I was afraid I was going to get hurt.

“I was really weak. I lost a bunch of weight and got into shape.”

In high school, Valentine tried baseball, football and wrestling.

“I had a bad concussion and asthma that didn’t really mix, and I had a torn labrum in my right shoulder that I needed surgery on,” said Valentine. “I initially started working out for baseball. I made my own training, but I didn’t really notice a huge increase in my performance.”

Josh Sturgis, the Manson Area Community Center director, helped Valentine launch his new career.

“Josh got me started, and I soon went off on my own using the things he taught me,” Valentine said. “I totaled 1,080 pounds at my very first competition in March of 2015.

“I did it to become healthier. One of my friends at the gym told me I had a real knack for squatting. I went from one of the weakest to one of the strongest in just a couple of months.”

Valentine has spent countless hours studying up on his favorite activity of choice. He recently hired his own coach and nutritionist for his next meet in Florence, Kent.

“I read one article or watch one video every night or morning to learn from guys like Steve Goggins and Ed Coan,” said Valentine. “My goal isn’t really to get famous. I want to be the best I can be, but I also want to help other people reach their dreams.”

Valentine plans to major in exercise science at Iowa Central Community College. He eventually hopes to pursue a master’s degree in kinesiology at either the University of Iowa or Iowa State University.

“This is something I plan on doing for the rest of my life,” Valentine said. “I’d like to get involved in strength and conditioning in high schools.”