James Hentila, a senior at Mora High School, has overcome, broke and set new athletic records for Mora High School weight lifting. He’s become an icon when it comes to working at a goal and achieving it.
Being called the strongest man in Mora, James has said that it’s humbling to be given that title. “I didn’t get the title out of nowhere. I worked really hard for it. I think I earned it cause I worked really hard for it. It’s not crazy, but it’s not nothing.”
With more than just weight lifting under his belt, James also became the Mora Mustangs football captain and was crowned the Homecoming King.
With these goals met and overcome, his football career suddenly came to a stop when on Friday, Nov. 6, during the Homecoming football game, James was tackled on the field and couldn’t get back up again. He had broken his fibula, a smaller bone right next the weight bearing tibia bone of the leg. Being helped off the field, James stated that the reality of the broken leg didn’t hit him until he was in the hospital. “...when I was on the field, it was kinda, I couldn’t finish the game, so I was mad at that. Then the ambulance came and I had to leave which was even more upsetting.”
At first, the doctor did not give James a cast, having the thought that surgery would be needed to reset the bone in the upcoming week. Luckily, that was not the case. James was fitted for a cast and was told he could walk on the leg, but crutches were issued to keep weight off the bone as much as possible.
Looking back at the accident, James stated that he was more worried about what the rest of the year would be like with weight lifting. “I’m not worried in regards of the leg. I’m more worried that COVID is going to keep me out of the weight room.”
This year, athletically, has been challenging for the Mora High School senior due to COVID restricting access to being with his friends and weight training after school. “It’s hard to train without your friends,” he said. “I wanted to dead lift one more time to see if I could get 600 pounds.” He had high hopes to break his own record this year until the pandemic, and now the accident, put pause on that.
Staying more positive, James looks forward to the rest of the year and graduation. In regards to winning the crown of Homecoming King he said, “I’m not a super rich, popular kid, so I didn’t have much expectations as to winning. But I guess it pays off to be nice to people.”
James also stated that some new goals of his now once his leg has healed is to lose some weight. He also dreams of what he is going to do when he graduates from high school stating, “I was thinking about going to a trade school, becoming either a diesel mechanic or start my career of masonry.”
In the meantime, James keeps his head up and keeps in touch with his friends, attempting to keep spirits high. “It’s a pretty negative time, but you just kinda ignore some of that and be happy sometimes.”