When Julious committed to the U.S. team in May, practice revved up into high gear again. He had already taken a month off of lifting after the USAPL High School National Championships (where he break 3 American records and became a National Champion) under the assumption that his season was over. So with 4 months to prepare for the biggest stage, Julious went to work.
Coach Glen Miller saw a renewed work ethic in Julious when practice for World’s began. “He wanted to do more during practice because he knew the competition would be harder.” Julious started to realize that he was on the verge of being a truly great powerlifter; one of the best in the entire nation. But raw talent doesn’t get a lifter very far when competing at this level. The only way was to do lift the weight every week. He did just that and got his max squat up to 700 pounds.
The coaches changed some workouts for Julious during this time and added another day so that he was lifting 5 days instead of 4 during the high school season. Normally, the weight room is packed during practice with the entire team creating sounds of metal weights and bars banging against steel racks. But now the room was quieter with just Julious and the coaches. It was easier for them to focus on technique during this time, but it was also a
good bonding experience.
Over the 4 months of practice, Julious made some huge improvements in all of the lifts. But as the end of August drew near, the mental shift from practice to competition was evident. With bags packed and passport in hand, the trio of Guthrey Fritz, Glen Miller, and Julious left for Prague. It
took 26 total hours to hop around the globe as they took off from Des Moines International Airport, and flew to Chicago where they met half of the U.S. team. From there they moved across the Atlantic and landed in Amsterdam. After a 5 hour layover, they finally landed in Prague, Czech Republic on Saturday, August 29.
The IPF Sub-Junior and Junior World Championships had the schedule set up to lift one weight class a day, so Julious had an entire week to sightsee, get rested, and prepare for competition. They took in the amazing European city that was founded over a thousand years ago and made stops to take
in the incredible gothic architecture at Prague Castle and St. Vitus’ Cathedral. Day 3 presented the first hurdle of the week when Julious got food
poisoning. He spent a day and a half with a fever, losing weight, and hanging out at the hotel room. Once it subsided, his attention, along with the coaches, was back on competition.
At 6:00 Prague time (11 CST in the U.S.), on Friday,September 4, Julious took the stage with the world watching. With a live feedonline, the entire Woodward Academy student body assembled in the gymnasium to watch one of their own lift. The atmosphere on campus was electric with
students cheering him on from halfway across the world.
In Prague, the nerves set in prior to competition. After 11 years at the helm of Woodward Academy’s elite powerlifting program, coach Fritz said that it was first time he felt nervous for competition in a long time. Julious is the quiet type, but he was feeling it too. He knew this would not be
the easy day at work that high school nationals was.
At age 16, Julious was the youngest lifter in the sub-junior competition and was lifting against 17 and 18 year olds from Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Japan, and Russia. Julious hit his first two squats, with his best being 656 pounds. That was good for second best in competition and after his 341 pound bench press, Julious was competing for second place against the other American lifter. The Russian barely outlifted Julious in the squat, but after a huge bench, had a substantial lead going into the final event and would not be caught.
Julious hit all three of his deadlifts, with his final being 600 pounds, the best in competition. In doing so, he put the other American lifter in a difficult position where he needed to lift more than he had before. In the end, Julious finished 2nd in the world.
What the Trip Mean
Putting the trip, and what Julious accomplished over the past year, in perspective is pretty astounding. As a behaviorally challenged 14-year-old
kid from California, Julious could have been adjudicated anywhere. But he came to Woodward Academy, and his raw talent and ability was able to shine in an already established elite powerlifting program. He was able to grow as a lifter and as a man. He is truly one of the most fun and enjoyable students to be around and his humility is something that isn’t often seen in a 16 year old.
Additionally, the coaching staff is proud to call Woodward Academy (and the parent company of Sequel Youth & Family Services) their career of choice. A trip to Prague is not cheap and many facilities could justifiably find many reasons to not go. But Woodward Academy, Sequel, and the Woodward Youth Corporation never hesitated in finding a way to make it work. Astruly one of the best lifters in the country, Julious earned this trip of a lifetime and represented the Knights and his nation proudly.
Julious is currently weighing his options of continuing his powerlifting career at Woodward Academy into the next season. If it is meant to be, Julious will be eyeing another USAPL High School National Championship (next year in Florida), and a chance to lift once again for the United States
at the World Championships in Poland.