Penn's Zach Main raising the bar in the weight room


Since he was just a kid, 10 years old and a whole lot smaller than he is now, Zach Main has been an avid weightlifter. But this spring, the rising junior at Penn finally found out just how strong he really is.

"I wanted to get into competitive weightlifting," says Main. "See where I fall with other people."

After setting an Indiana high school bench press record at his first-ever competition (352 pounds at a state event in Kokomo last March), he then broke the national mark at the beginning of June. At the Natural Athlete Strength Association's USA Nationals in Laughlin, Nevada Main benched 170 kilos, equal to 374.78 pounds, for the championship.

"I just got up and I went and I hugged my parents," Main says of the moment after his record lift. "I about busted down in tears. I couldn't believe it."

"It'll give you goosebumps," says a proud dad, Randy Main."

"And tears for me," adds his mother, Laurie. "When I got the hug that was pretty cool. You know because normally, 16, don't have time for Mom."

Outside of the gym, Main is a fantastic all-around athlete. He's clocked a 4.7-second time in the 40 yard dash, plays outfield in baseball and started as a sophomore at defensive end for the Penn football team.

"I want to play both in college, baseball and football," says Main. "It'd be a real big achievement for me because I've looked up to Bo Jackson."

Bo Jackson of course inspired countless tales bordering on myth. And Main has his own growing list of exploits. At 14-years-old he hit a home run out of Notre Dame's ballpark. When he started lifting in fourth grade, he maxed out at 185 pounds on the bench -- fourth grade! And his current athletic endeavors are smashing the family's food budget.

"We always joke, he eats like a baby," Randy says. "Every two hours."

"We don't walk out of Meijer or Martins with less than a couple hundred dollars," says Laurie.

On the bright side, at least they know the perfect guy to lift all those groceries.