Jacksonville University's Tanner Hill captures National Powerlifting Championship

May 13, 2024

Two years ago, Tanner Hill gave up his collegiate wrestling scholarship to transfer to Jacksonville University and focus more on his academics. While pursuing his Bachelor’s in Exercise Science at the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences, Hill found an outlet in powerlifting. He recently competed in the Collegiate Nationals, by USA Powerlifting, and knocked off the number one-ranked lifter to bring a national championship to Jacksonville University. 

“It’s surreal. Going from never having power lifted to winning a national championship is by far the biggest accomplishment in my athletic career,” said Hill. The four-time high school state qualifier and two-time national All-American in wrestling felt burned out with the sport he had given so much to and knew he needed to make a change. After giving up his collegiate wrestling scholarship at Reinhardt University, he initially got into training for Iron Man competitions. Lifting weights had always been a part of Hill’s regimen as a high school and college athlete, but never to the level required to compete as a powerlifter. 

“A year ago, I was told I would have to lift 200 more pounds and that my expectations to compete at the highest level were unrealistic,” said Hill. DespiteTanner Hill lifting the doubt, he continued to train and compete while balancing school and work. He qualified for nationals last fall and entered competition with the third highest qualifying total of the 75 athletes in his class.

In total, more than 1200 students from over 100 schools across the country competed in both men’s and women’s divisions at the 2024 Collegiate Nationals. 

“I’ve learned a lot about myself over the last couple years and my driving factor hasn’t been to win,” said Hill. “Powerlifting has been an outlet that I enjoy and I never dreamed of winning a national title. I’m grateful and it’s so cool to be a national champion, but there’s more to life than being an athlete.”

Hill hoisted a national championship two weeks before graduating from Jacksonville University with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science. He’s currently working at Brooks Rehabilitation, as a Therapy Tech. He’s working while weighing his options for what’s next, including considering if he wants to pursue a Doctorate of Physical Therapy.

“When I was at a low point, my Mom shared a quote with me that I had never heard before. She told me ‘nothing changes if nothing changes,’” said Hill. “Because of change, I was able to end up in a place where I never thought I’d be and it goes beyond powerlifting and becoming a national champion.”


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