Athlete Spotlight: Elijah Dertz
This fall, Elijah Dertz is entering his freshman year at Loras College. He will take the skills and lessons learned from his time at Eastland High School and apply them to this new chapter of his life. Being a student athlete requires a lot of discipline and hard work, but Dertz manages to balance it all. During his senior season, he amassed an impressive resume:
- NHSSCA All-American Athlete of the Year
- NHSCA Academic All-American
- IHSFCA 2A All-State Team
- 2x IWCOA Academic All-State
- ASWPC Record Holder in Squat, Bench, Deadlift, and Total
- 1st Place, Online Powerlifting Nationals, 275lb. Division
Alongside this decorated high school campaign, Eli was recruited to play football for Loras College and selected the Duhawks from a variety of other college options. When he’s not on the field or in the weight room, he will be working toward an ambitious mechanical engineering major.
Good Athlete Project representative Bill Heniades asked Dertz some questions to find out how athletics have taught him skills that went Beyond Strength.
Bill Heniades: So tell me a little about yourself. What are your favorite sports and what are some hobbies you have?
Elijah Dertz: My favorite sport is baseball. In my free time I like to go on hiking trips and just be outside in general. I’m also a big fan of video games.
B.H. What is your favorite lift?
E.D. My favorite lifts are trap bar deadlift and bench press.
B.H. What are your powerlifting and/or performance goals?
E.D. I want to set more world records and be one of the strongest powerlifters ever.
B.H. Setting more world records? Not many people can say that! What are some personal records you have right now and which ones do you plan on working towards?
E.D. My personal records right now are a 405lbs bench press, a 555lbs squat, a 565lbs deadlift, and a 295lbs clean to standing press. I would like to continue to break the world records in my division until I compete in the open division when I’m old enough. At that point I’d like to break some all-time world records on the 3 main lifts and also strongman events. I am also training to break the strict curl world record. My current best is 155lbs which would break the current record in my division, but I haven’t had a meet to do it in yet because of COVID.
B.H. Wow. That’s impressive and those are ambitious goals – what are some positive habits you have that are going to help you reach them?
E.D. I have always trusted the process and understood that life was a marathon, not a sprint. You have to take little steps to build yourself as a student, as a productive member of society, and as an athlete. Accept that you have limits and through hard work you can push those limits.
B.H. You’ve already accomplished a lot. What keeps you motivated to train?
E.D. First I was motivated to be stronger for football, but now I just want to be as strong as I physically can. I just like lifting weights and getting new PRs. To me there’s no better feeling than a PR, no matter how small it might be. And if I’m stronger, I’ll be a better football player which will hopefully help me find a spot in college.
B.H. Final question, what are some lessons you have learned through training that go Beyond Strength and transfer into other areas of your life?
E.D. The most important thing lifting has taught me is dedication. You won’t move mountains overnight. If you stick with training and work your muscles you will get stronger. Knowing your limits applies here too because it keeps you healthy and motivated.