Central’s own ranked #1 worldwide


Courtesy of Hunter Eck

Senior Hunter Eck competes at a local meet in Tennessee.

Tatum Cox, Staff

Not many high school students can say they broke a world record. Twelfth-grader Hunter Eck is an exception to this norm. Eck is a 17-year-old fitness guru. He has competed in multiple weightlifting events in the last year and even has his own YouTube channel where he inspires other athletes through his goal-oriented lifestyle and carefree attitude.

Recently, Eck competed in a local meet in Oakridge, Tennessee, where he shattered the world record and broke untested records, including deadlift (463 lbs.), squat (358 lbs.), and bench (237 lbs.), which brought his total to 1058 lbs. For the 16-17 age, 132 lbs. weight class, this puts Eck at number 1 in the world (Rankings, openpowerlifting.org).

Eck competed individually.

“It was me versus other competitors,” Eck said, “but in my head, I saw it as me versus the rankings.”

Not many 59 kg (132 lbs.) lifters compete at normal meets, and for Eck, his experience was surreal.

“It’s not something I ever thought I would do,” Eck said.“I did my first meet and it’s an experience I can’t even describe that well because it’s just super supportive and something I recommend for anyone to do…It was crazy during training when I was hitting these numbers, but during the meet, we were just all supporting each other and getting each other hyped up.”

This world record holder is not shy to say he couldn’t do it alone.

“(For my support system,) My mom would be at the top, and then Cameron Driggers and then Cyrus Youngbanthon–he’s my coach– and then my stepdad and then Ryan Goodin.”

Eck started working out in his early middle school years in an effort to fit in with his friends and peers. Then, around his 8th-grade year, his passion for fitness and a healthy lifestyle really exploded.

“It’s really motivational to see (my) numbers go up and see the benefits of the training… I never really thought I would get to where I am.”

Eck plans on competing in Raw Nationals this year, which is the biggest powerlifting meet in the United States. He hopes to advance from this and compete at Worlds for Team USA.

In his free time, Eck manages his own YouTube channel, where he posts videos in an effort to give viewers a peek into his lifestyle, while also teaching others about fitness and videography. He tries to keep his videos fun and entertaining, while also delivering value. “In my opinion, you should take weightlifting as seriously as you can, but only to the point that you can still have fun with it.”

In the future, Eck has no doubt that fitness will always be a big part of his life. He plans to continue to train and compete for as long as he can. For young people that are looking to get into fitness, the senior advises, “Start with strength, because you will go the furthest with it and the stronger you get the more weights you can move…I’m not very big as it is, so you don’t have to be just a mass monster when it comes to strength training. I feel like it’s the best thing that will benefit you long term and for anything in life.”