Wiley Philleo wins national weightlifting title

Wind River freshman Wiley Philleo discovered the weight room a few years ago through his mom, Sammi Hegwer and took it from there. The 123 pound (56KG) freshman won the Teen 1 Division at the USA Power Lifting Championships in Chicago last week.

The competition consists of an aggregate total of three lifts, bench, squat and dead lift combined for placing.

Philleo benched 72.5 KG, squatted 110 KG and dead lifted 117.5 KG. He narrowly missed a 140KG dead lift. His total was 300 KG.

Wiley Philleo bench pressed 159.5 pounds in his 123 pound division (h/t USA Power Lifting)

In pounds, that’s 159.5 in the bench, 242 in the squad and a dead lift of 258.5.

His 300 KG total would have placed him in the top 10 in all divisions of the 123 pound weight class, which includes 18 year old lifters.

Wiley Philleo at the power point of a 242 pound squat (h/t USA Power Lifting)

“He’s like Happy Gilmore with his hockey stick,” Hegwer said.  

Philleo competed in his Wind River High School wrestling singlet and wrestling shoes.

“We have a tiny home gym out by the barn where he can see his fair steer out the window. He’s here without a team, and his stepdad, Justin Hegwer, as a coach, unlike most of these kids who come from a high school team with paid coaches.” Hegwer said.


His mom started lifting in 2018 with the help of Val Leseberg.

“One day I brought Wiley to the gym and we learned he was strong,” Hegwer said. “He competed in his first nationally sanctioned meet in 2019 under Val’s coaching. We both broke Wyoming records that day and since then he holds over 30 State records.”

Wiley Philleo competing on the big stage in the dead lift at the USA Power Lifting Championships in Chicago (h/t USA Power Lifting)

Philleo competed in the national last years, winning the silver medal.

“We love this sport because talent doesn’t win and money can’t buy you strength. It’s just discipline, hard work, healthy habits and mental toughness that get you to the top,” Hegwer said.

In addition to wrestling for the Cougars, Philleo is a football player.

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