Arizona Athlete Wins Powerlifting AAU Joel Ferrell
On July 25, fifteen-year-old Evan Pittman, a rising sophomore at Phoenix Country Day School in Arizona, was awarded the Amateur Athletic Union’s Joel Ferrell Outstanding Performance Memorial Award for the sport of powerlifting. The Joel Ferrell Award is AAU’s top award presented each year at the Junior Olympics Games to the athlete who demonstrates outstanding athletic accomplishment and sportsmanship.
Pittman received the award after winning his sixth straight Junior Olympics Games powerlifting title at the 2014 Junior Olympics in Des Moines, Iowa, where he set seven AAU world records in the 132 lb.,14-15-yr. old division with lifts of 308 lbs. in the squat, 182 lbs. in the bench press, and 386 lbs. in the deadlift, for an 876 lb. total in the raw (no special equipment) category.
Two days later, Pittman repeated as 14-15 age group champion in the Junior Olympic Games Combine, held at Drake University Stadium, winning four of the five combine events. The following day, he also brought home gold in the first JO Games Feats of Strength competition.
“Junior Olympics has become one of the highlights of our summer as a family,” Pittman said. “I really appreciate the Joel Ferrell award, because it recognizes the efforts of my coaches and
parents in helping me be the very best athlete I can be.”
In five years of powerlifting competition, Pittman has set more than 60 world and 75 American records in eight weight classes, and is also a four-time world champion. In 2013, he received the Best Lifter award for youth & teens atthe AAU World Championships in Las Vegas, where he also received a special award from the Afghanistan National Olympic Committee for his athletic achievements.
In addition to powerlifting, Pittman is a competitive springboard diver, taekwondo black belt, and began training in the Winter Olympic sport of skeleton in 2012. He is an honor roll student and performance violinist who routinely plays for assisted living facilities and nursing homes, as well as for weddings, funerals, and church services.
The AAU Junior Olympic Games is the pinnacle youth sports competition held annually in cities around America by the Amateur Athletic Union, and is the largest national multi-sport event for youth in the United States, routinely drawing 12,00-15,000 athletes.