OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) When Michael Bartz began his high school athletic career, his sole focus was running. However, after tearing his quad, the Brownell-Talbot senior picked up a different sport, powerlifting.
"I couldn't run for the next six months," Bartz said. "Once I got back to running, re-learned how to run, It was not even as close to as fast as I was before so I decided if I can't be the fastest, I'll be the strongest."
Bartz has now raised the bar becoming one of the best powerlifters in the country for his age and weight class earning a #1 ranking in the 16-17 year old division at 83 kg, or just under 183 pounds.
"It's my parents reminding me that things happen that aren't in your control and the only thing you can do is how you can react to it," said Bartz.
After coming in 2nd at the national championships in Orlando last August, Bartz competed in the world championships in Calgary, Canada last month.
"It was a good experience," Bartz said. "This was my first international meet. I don't plan on it being my last."
Bartz plans to compete on the Creighton powerlifting team in the future but for now, he's focused on bringing home another all-class state team title to Brownell-Talbot in his final year with the Raiders.
"Nothing has taught me applicable life skills quite like powerlifting has," said Bartz. "There's days where I'm tired maybe I don't sleep well the night before but I know that when I go into the weight room, I have a job to do."
Bartz will compete once again at the national championships in Spokane, Washington later this year.