MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — High School athletes from all across the country have traveled to the Grand Strand for the USA Powerlifting High School Nationals competition.

The competition features 700 athletes that compete in heavy lifting squats, bench press, and deadlift. The athlete that lifts the most combines weight from the three movements is the champion.

Heather Faas, the USA Powerlifting South Carolina director thought Myrtle Beach was the perfect place to host the event.

“Our national office actually puts out a bid and all the states get the opportunity to say if they want to have the meet in their state,” Faas said. “We thought that Myrtle Beach would be the perfect opportunity for athletes from across the country to come and experience what South Carolina has to offer, especially Myrtle Beach being a very touristy town.”

Many high schools across the country have powerlifting teams, but very few in South Carolina have them. That is something that Faas hopes will change soon.

“Right now, it’s only in a couple high schools here in South Carolina, versus other states, it’s in almost every high school,” Faas said. “We would love to see these athletes, who are maybe not your typical football or baseball athletes. Some of these kids are just really looking for something to be a part of and powerlifting is good for everyone.”

Samuel Blackwell from Lexington is one of nine powerlifters that are representing South Carolina. Blackwell got into powerlifting from going to the gym with his friends, but he always is looking stylish while competing.

“I started wearing sunglasses at Carolina Primetime last year,” Blackwell said. “It just looks cool, it’s just kind of my thing. I wear them when I’m training, so I wear them when I’m on the platform.”

Blackwell has the chance to set a new world record for bench press in his age group (14-15 years old) at the competition.

“The world record on bench is 125 kilos, which is roughly 275 pounds, so I’m looking to chip that record by half a kilo,” Blackwell said.

What’s even more impressive than breaking the world record, is doing it while still recovering from a recent back injury.

“This has been a big goal for me, my bench is probably one of my best lifts,” Blackwell said.

The competition started on Thursday and runs through Sunday. It is being held at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center and tickets can be purchased at the door for $15.