by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Sandys Harley Reed makes a lift during a recent competition. Pumping iron is in 12-year-old Harley Reed’s blood. His grandfather, Donald James, and uncle, Donny James, have both been competitive lifters for years, so Reed has not been a stranger to the weight room. But it was only recently that Reed wanted to give it a try for himself, and no one could have predicted what would happen when he did.

Reed entered the WABDL Great Northern Bench Press and Dead lift Championships at the Shilo Inn on Airport Way on June 15 and blew away the competition. Not only did he win the 12-13 year old weight division, he did it in record fashion. Reed set a state record in the dead lift by hoisting a weight of 305 pounds. In the bench press, Reed lifted 137 pounds to set a new world record for his age.

To set a world record in anything is remarkable all by itself. To do it with almost no experience is unheard of. When Reed did it, even his family was shocked.

“I knew he was strong, but not that strong,” Harley’s mother Charla Reed said as she struggled to put her disbelief into words.

Reed was so amateur that he had to be told how to stand in the dead lift during the competition. Fortunately, he had “Coach Mary” there to assist him. Mary Panza from Olympic Gym in Gresham coached him during the event and gave him the instruction he needed to succeed.

Reed was a fast learner. He would have to be to come so far in so little time. He started training and lifting weights just four months prior to his debut contest.

Reed got started when he accompanied Donald James on his visits to Sandy High. James volunteers as a strength and conditioning coach for the school and Reed turned into a frequent tag-along. James started Reed on the weights and he couldn’t get the soon-to-be seventh grader to stop.

“He just loves it,” Charla Reed said. “He gets up and goes early, and he can’t get enough of it.”

James wasted no time in getting his grandson a membership at Olympic Gym where he started working with Panza. With James and Panza in his corner, Reed’s technique improved rapidly.

“There is no way I could have done it without my grandpa and Coach Mary,” Reed said.

Reed’s natural ability, his instant love for lifting and a few months of coaching was all he needed to flourish in his premiere event, despite his lack of experience.

Reed was only scratching the surface of his potential in that competition. He has a taste for competitive lifting now and he plans to be a regular at similar contests. When his talent is infused with more experience and training, there will be no ceiling to what he is capable of. With that, there is no limit to the records and trophies which will surely follow.

As nice as the accolades are, Reed isn’t too caught up in them. He is more concerned about just doing what he loves. As long as he gets to lift with his family and friends at his side, he will feel plenty accomplished.

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