OAKLAND, Calif. - Seth Evans may not be the biggest eighth-grader in the country, but he is officially the strongest.
Last year Evans set two national records in weight lifting for his age, making him the strongest 13-year-old in the U.S. Now he is the number one ranked 14-year-old.
"If you know the perfect technique, the strength will come along with it," he said.
"Last year we went to Detroit and he became a national champion," said Mike Jenkins, Seth's weightlifting coach. Jenkins runs a non-profit gym in Oakland and noticed Seth as an 11-year-old. He just seemed different from the other boys.
"Seth is able to focus, has a level of focus on his training that is unusual for kids his age. He can do the simple stuff, the boring stuff, the training stuff. He really enjoys the process," said Jenkins.
That focus extends to his diet, even though he's a teenager.
"I can't eat like the rest of the kids my age. I can't do certain stuff. But it is part of the sacrifice I have to make," said Evans.
Seth's sacrifices, commitment, and talent level have caught the eye of Oakland's professional soccer team, the Oakland Roots.
At the team's training facility in Alameda Monday, the Roots committed to Seth that it would provide training equipment and money to help offset the costs of traveling to out-of-state weightlifting competitions.
"We want to be a club which helps celebrate and encourages the next generation of talent from here in Oakland," said Mike Geddis of Oakland Roots.
With Seth's status as an elite weightlifter, the chance of competing in the 2028 Olympics is a topic of conversation.
"He's definitely on a track to do something special," said Jenkins.
His parents say Seth's success has caught them a little off-guard. But they say they've been enjoying the adventure.
"It's been an awesome experience as a mom to watch him flourish over the years," said his mother, Leticia Evans.