Former Waxahachie Indians defensive end Jake Fincher never really stopped lifting, even after his football career ended almost a decade ago.

Fincher graduated from WHS in 2006 and went on to play football for Trinity Valley Community College and ultimately for Division I Stephen F. Austin.

Fincher didn’t go to the NFL, but instead he chose a different path to the professional ranks: Strongman competitions. Now 31, Fincher is hitting his peak strength, lifting 430 pounds for a new state record and unofficial national record last Saturday at a U.S. Strongman-sanctioned event in Plano.

“There are multiple entities that you can compete in, and I competed in a USS competition and broke the state record,” Fincher said. “I beat the national record, but they won’t give it to me because there wasn’t a president there. But I set the state record at 430 and the previous record was 390, so I set it pretty high.“

Fincher, who first entered strongman competitions as a professional three years ago, is set to compete in the World Strongman Games in Florida Nov. 1-3.

“I finished 10th in the world there my first year, and (last year finished) fifth in the world,” Fincher said. “We’re going in the right direction for sure.”

Fincher has traveled the globe to compete, going to Russia and Canada for competitions. Last year, he took second in the America’s Strongest Man competition.

“It’s really been a blessing,” he said. “It’s been really, really great for me.”

When not competing, Fincher and a partner run a trucking company, and he is also involved with transporting and breeding whitetail deer.

At WHS, Fincher was a standout in both football and field events, where he qualified for the Class 4A Region II meet in the discus. On the gridiron, he was named honorable mention Class 4A all-state by the Associated Press Sports Editors for the 2005 season.