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Weight records fall to area boy

Cam shatters national marks

Mention the name Jordan Cam and Sam Pectol's eyes light up like a Roman candle.

He's one of those kids you get once in a lifetime, Pectol says. He's going to put up some huge numbers by the time he's a senior in high school.

Those numbers are in power lifting, where Cam set age group national records at a competition in Bend on Jan. 30.

The freshman-to-be at North Medford High hoisted 319 pounds in the bench press and 435 pounds in the dead lift, shattering national records in the 220-pound, junior teen division (13-15 age group).

The previous records were 281 pounds in the bench press and 360 in the dead lift.

This wasn't a surprise -- we knew Jordan was ready to put up those numbers, says Pectol, a power-lifting guru and head instructor at Superior Gym and Fitness Center in Medford. He's a naturally strong kid, and to his credit he hasn't missed a workout all summer.

Cam, who starred in football, wrestling and track at Hedrick Middle School, began to make significant improvement early this summer when Pectol paired him with North Medford record-holder Brian Backstrom.

Backstrom, an all-conference lineman for the Black Tornado who is headed to Western Oregon University later this month, holds school records in the bench press (370), squat (570) and all-around (1,430), which also includes the clean and the clean and jerk.

None of Jordan's friends could keep up with him, so I stuck him in there with Backstrom and some of the other older kids, Pectol says. I didn't know if it would work out, as far as personalities go, but it's worked out great.

Backstrom welcomed his new workout partner, even if it meant he likely would be helping someone eventually break his own records.

He's way ahead of me at the same age, Backstrom says. I didn't hit 300 (in the bench press) until the summer before my junior year.

There's been a couple times when he's wanted to take a set off, but all in all, he's got a good work ethic.

Cam's biggest challenge at the Bend tournament wasn't setting the records, but making weight. He had to lose 10 pounds to reach 220, and some of it had to be jettisoned on the ride over when he jogged in front of his father's car for several miles.

Once in the competition, Cam excelled. He opened at 242 pounds in the bench, improved to 286 to get the record and then conquered 319.

In the dead lift, Cam opened at 405 pounds and hoisted 435 without difficulty. He likely would have lifted more had it not been for the suit he was wearing that pinched his groin area.

Sam thought I could get up to 470 and maybe even 500, but the suit was pinching me more and more, Cam says. But it felt great to get the records, and I know I'll have other chances.

His next opportunity will come Nov. 7 at the world power lifting championships in Portland.

Cam would likely be enjoying just as much success on the squat rack, but he suffers from Osgood-Schlatter disease, a condition that causes pain in the knees of growing adolescents.

In middle school, Cam was a district champion in wrestling, a district champion in the shot put and discus -- where his best of 146 feet came within a foot of the district record -- and was considered one of the top linemen in football.

He's likely to carry that success into high school, but suddenly power lifting seems to be his forte.

What I've learned over the years is that kids gain 20 to 30 pounds in the bench press and roughly 50 pounds in the dead lift and squats each year, so you're looking at a kid who could be lifting over 400 pounds in the bench and over 600 in the other two by the time he graduates, Pectol says.

And now that he's got a taste of what this is all about, I don't see him backing off. I'm very excited to train this kid.

Cam's father Phil, however, is taking a cautious approach. The elder Cam was a standout football player and wrestler at Eagle Point High and Portland State University in the 1970s.

This is a great start, but that's all it is, Phil Cam says. We're excited about the possibilities because Jordan has shown that he's willing to work hard, but it's the long-term commitment that counts.

And Jordan hasn't even been to high school yet.

Jordan Cam, who will be a freshman at North Medford, bench pressed nearly 320 pounds. - Photo fromPhil Cam