The way Casen Cox sees it, he’s getting a chance to continue doing something he loves while getting an education at the same time.
It’s a combination that he couldn’t pass on.
“I love to work out,” said Cox, a former Denham Springs High School powerlifter who recently signed with Blue Mountain College. “That’s all I do in my free time besides work and sleep, so to be able to go to college to do something I love is just amazing. I’m so excited for it.”
“I wasn’t planning on going to college, and then they said, ‘Hey, we’ll actually pay for you to go and to lift weights.’ I was like, ‘I’d just have to be a fool not to take this offer,’” Cox continued.
Cox got in contact with the Blue Mountain coaching staff through former DSHS teammate Jase Zachary, who just completed his first season at the NAIA school in Blue Mountain, Miss.
“He was there every step of the way,” Cox said of Zachary.
DSHS powerlifting coach Joe Ryan said Zachary’s presence at Blue Mountain will only help Cox as he transitions to college.
“When you have two kids that are already very good at working together, why not keep that going?,” Ryan said. “He kept it going. He’s a sacrifice for the team type of kid.”
Ryan said a perfect illustration of Cox’s selflessness was on display several times during his high school career. As a sophomore, he gained weight regionals to bump up to 242-pound class after normally sitting in the 217-218-pound range.
Cox stayed in the 220-pound weight class as junior and bumped up again as a senior to give Denham Springs a full team.
“His performance at state isn’t a portrayal of the type of lifter he is,” Ryan said. “He finished sixth in the state, but if he’d have been down a weight class, he would have finished in that fourth, fifth range, so he’d have been up a spot or two, but he took that for the team to help out the team.”
Ryan said Cox’s approach isn’t complicated, and it’s something that helped him in gaining attention from Blue Mountain.
“He’s a (natural),” Ryan said, noting Cox will be the first generation college attendee from his family. “He’s consistent. He doesn’t stop. He’s a guy that lifted for us from the beginning, so all four years.”
“He’s in there every day doing the right thing, getting his workout done,” Ryan continued. “Getting in, getting out, making sure everything is done the right way. He’s not a vocal leader, but a leader in the sense of by action I’ll lead, you follow type of thing.”
“He built up a repertoire of being a good lifter, being a good teammate to have him be a prospect for a college lifter, and that’s why he is in the spot he is in now,” Ryan said.
Cox toured the campus in March, which helped solidify his decision to sign.
“It’s smaller, for sure, but it was beautiful,” Cox said. “I’m really looking forward to it. Everything’s really nice over there.”
Getting to this point for Cox was a bit different as he played three years of football at DSHS but focused solely on powerlifting during his senior season.
“It was good and bad,” Cox said. “Whenever I stopped playing football, I slacked off for about a month, but then when I got back into it, I just worked out every day, twice a day, and it paid off.”
He said the tough part was getting back on track after taking that month off from working out.
“It was brutal. It wasn’t the smartest idea I’ve ever had, I’ll tell you that,” Cox said with a laugh.
Cox said it took about a week to get back into a rhythm because he likes to put together detailed schedule which include workouts twice a day.
“By the second week, I was back into it,” he said. “I was sore. I’m not going to lie. I was very sore, but I was back into it.”
Heading into college, Cox said his goals aren’t complicated.
“Get better every day,” he said. “Don’t get worse. See what happens. I don’t really know what the college scene is like. I don’t know if college is ready for me or I’m not ready for college, but we’ll figure it out.”
“I just tried it out and kind of fell in love with it,” Cox continued. “The opportunity came up. I’m just very grateful.”
He also shared a bit of advice.
“If you love something and you work hard at it, you’re going to get it accomplished,” Cox said.