Ark-La-Tex teen taking power lifting to new heights - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Ark-La-Tex teen taking power lifting to new heights


School, football practice and power lifting?  It's all part of a days work for one Ark-La-Tex student who brought back some hardware this fall after a summer of intense training and hard work.

When you see 17-year-old Matthew Harper in the gym you notice he has the power to lift weight that grown men can't handle.

Harper says, "It started with the basics real light just 135 on the bar bench squat and dead lift nothing fancy my dad kind of taught me the form and from there it just took off."

Every son admires his father, but with Matt's father being a former national power lifting champion, every day is motivation.

"I've always wanted to be like him I've been constantly trying to beat his lifts since I started and I beat him on the squat but I'm still trying to catch him on the bench and dead lift," he says.   

Since Harper's freshman year, he's been power-lifting, and for the past two years he has been the National Champion in the Sub Junior Division and was invited to compete on the USA's world team.

Harper says, "It was a great experience it was kind of intimidating getting there seeing all these guys that were huge I was the smallest guy in my weight class."

He might have been the smallest, but he competed like a champion and overcame the odds. Harper received a silver medal in the dead lift and he earned bronze in both bench and the squat.  Overall, he brought home a silver medal and finished second but the best part was that his family was right there for every second.

Harper says, "They've been really supportive of me they come to all my meets a lot of the kids coming from all over the world they weren't fortunate enough to have there family close enough so that their parents could drive and come see it I was lucky to have my family there cheering me on."

Now that he's back home, it's back to training and preparing for the next meet. Players form Harper's Parkway High football team have seen the strides he has made on the field and love training with him. 

Normandin Latrell says "He is a good friend and he's going to make you work hard he's not going to let you slack off."

Harper's Uncle and pastor took time to share what the experience was like live and in person at the competition.

Randy Harper says, "It was exciting to see a good Christian young man representing south Bossier and to know that he's a part of my family and to see him standing on the podium with the American flag was a tear jerker."

Harper's younger sister is also and up and coming power lifter.

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