Iola-Scandinavia High School senior Travis McKinney recently competed in the High School National Power Lifting Championships in Aurora Colo.
Paving the way to the national competition was his success at the Wisconsin State High School Power Lifting Championships, where he took first place and set two Wisconsin records with a total of 1,625 pounds and a squat of 660 pounds.
At nationals, McKinney and approximately 200 competitors had the opportunity to complete three lifts in three categories: squat, dead-lift and bench.
“They take the highest lift amount in each of the categories and combine them for a total score,” he said.
McKinney completed one lift in the squat and bench categories in addition to two in the dead-lift for a total score of 1,710 pounds ( 640 dead-lift, 600 squat and 470 bench).
“I feel like I did not do as well as I could have,” McKinney said. “I would have liked to have gone nine-for-nine and then I would have had an 1,868 total. Unfortunately I only went four-for-nine.”
Joshua Bickman of Covington, La., came in first with a total score of 1,763 lbs., while McKinney followed in second.
“I had an off-day and was disappointed in my performance overall,” he said. “In the gym, I have never missed a 500-pound bench. Somehow at nationals, I just couldn’t do it. The first-place finisher usually gets the primary seat for the world competition. I still have a chance of making it, but I will not know until June for sure.”
It didn’t take McKinney long to make his mark in Colorado.
“On my first attempt at bench, my lift of 470 lbs. broke the national record,” he said. “I would have liked to see it at a higher weight, but I am proud of what I accomplished. The previous record was 429 lbs.”
McKinney, who does not have a coach, disciplines himself to work out at least four days a week. When time permits, he also does a strongman-style cardio and conditioning workout.
“I workout with Eric Thomas of New Found Power Inc., along with Kyle Boost and John Swenson,” McKinney said. “They help me correct my form and motivate me to do even more.”
In addition to his workout partners, McKinney credits his parents Greg and Deanna McKinney as his biggest supporters. He is also grateful for the support he has received from the community.
“I want to thank everyone who donated money for my trip to Nationals,” he said. “Because of the donations, I was able to ride the bus to Nationals with other Wisconsin teams.”
McKinney plans to continue lifting after high school.
“Lifting is my favorite sport,” he said. “You can start at any time in your life. I have seen people in their 60s start lifting and by the time they are in their 80s, they are lifting over 400 lbs.”
He continues with a word of advice: “Make sure you do it safely to avoid injury.”
McKinney plans on attending the UPA Iron Battle on The Mississippi in Dubuque, Iowa in July of this year.
Following graduation, he will attend the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where he will be a part of the ROTC program while studying health promotion and wellness. He is also a member of the Army National Guard.