Milton's Connor Felstead to compete in world weightlifting competition

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Tom Miller
Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Connor Felstead has had a whirlwind June, and it's about to get even busier.

Felstead opened a new business with five friends. He graduated from Milton High eight days ago. He signed a letter of intent to attend Northern Michigan. He had a graduation party Saturday, which also happened to be his 19th birthday.

Today, he leaves for Kazan, Russia, to compete in the Junior World Championships weightlifting tournament.

“It's going to be fun,” Felstead said of his first international competition on foreign soil.

Felstead advanced quickly in weightlifting, which he took up after three concussions sustained during his freshman year ended his high-school athletics career.

Working with online coaches Spencer Arnold, who lives in Dallas, and Roger Nielson of Schaumburg, Illinois, Felstead won the overall title at the Junior National Weightlifting Championships and earned a spot on the national Junior World squad.

Arnold, 27, was stunned at Felstead's national title.

“A feat I haven't accomplished in 14 years, and he accomplished in less than a year,” Arnold wrote on his website. “He has racked up a National Championship and international team competition in less than a year of work. Unreal!”

The clean and jerk and snatch are the two events in Olympic lifting. Competitors lift the weight from the floor to their chests and then overhead in the clean and jerk. In the snatch, the weight is lifted from the floor to overhead in one continuous motion.

Felstead is one of eight male lifters on the U.S. squad. There are seven women on the national team.

“I would like to PR (set personal bests) in every event,” Felstead said of his goals for Kazan. “I don't expect to be on the podium yet.”

Felstead competes in the 20-and-younger division. He will be able to compete in the division for another year.

Earning the trip to Russia is the first step in Felstead's ultimate goal of making the U.S. Olympic team. He said the 2016 Games are likely out of reach, but he should be right there when the 2020 Games arrive.

Felstead will attend Northern Michigan in Marquette, Michigan, in the fall. The campus features the U.S. Olympic Education Center.

He will major in sports science. Felstead will study how stress affects lifters and other clinical and scientific aspects of sports.

Felstead also is part of the staff of Crossfit Rendered, 3025 Woodlane Drive, Janesville. Other staff members in the 6,000-square-foot facility are Rocky and Nicole Cola, Dustin Alm and Casey Robles.

“I'm really excited about it,” Felstead said.

But the fitness facility will be without Felstead for two weeks. He flies out of O'Hare International Airport on Tuesday and will meet up with the rest of the national team at JFK Airport in New York City. The team departs for Russia from there.

Felstead competes June 23 and returns to the U.S. on July 1. It's safe to say he'll leave behind a June that he'll never forget.

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