Hillis earns All American status for weight room work

HARTINGTON — Stephen Hillis, a senior at Cedar Catholic, has had a high school career filled with athletic accolades, but recently he was named to the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) All-American team.

Hillis has gained quite the reputation of working hard in the weight room, and he has worked hard with Mark Roozen, a strength and conditioning coach out of South Dakota.

Hillis is an incredibly humble person. His first comment when asked about being an NSCA All-American was “I don’t know. It’s cool I guess.”

As much as Hillis has won All-State, All-Conference, and now an All-American award, it never seems that Hillis holds much priority in his personal recognition. He is a team player through and through.

“He is so humble that he keeps pushing himself to get better constantly, and he hasn’t really hit a point of thinking ‘Well I am good and I don’t need to try as much,’” said Roozen, also known as Rozy.

Rozy started helping train Hillis his junior year of high school. Currently working with Avera, Rozy has trained professional athletes down to youth, and he is often traveling the country for different training camps that he works with.

“It’s always been a pleasure working with him just because of his work ethic and being a leader that shows other kids what is possible and that they can do it too,” said Rozy. One of my biggest things with him is how hard he works and his leadership.”

Hillis has trained hard to be where he is a today. This past winter he accepted an offer to play football at the Air Force Academy, and he has also contributed massively to the basketball and track teams this year.

“It’s been a long process,” said Hillis. “I used to be a pretty big kid when I started playing football. Then I lost a lot of weight and built up my muscle slowly to where I am now.”

Hillis said that his heaviest bench press was 260 pounds, but his favorite workout is the hang clean.

“It’s just a fun lift,” said Hillis. “It is challenging and I just really like it.”

Now with his senior year finishing up, Hillis has begun to prepare for his time at the Air Force Academy. He has begun their summer workout, which will help him prepare for boot camp.

Hillis will most likely play linebacker at Air Force, and he knows what he needs to do in the weight room to get some playing time.

“Well I am going to lose some weight because of boot camp so they want me to bulk up now before hand,” said Hillis. “Then after the goal is to get my weight up to around 230 pounds by using their weight lifting regimen.”

Just this year Hillis was All-State in football, second team All State in basketball, and now All-American by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Track season is still finishing up but who knows, Hillis may not be done winning awa