Schultz brothers ready to defend wrestling titles
For the Schultz brothers, the path to greatness began as young boys on a beat-up mat in their garage. They’d go there and wrestle with each other throughout childhood, honing their technique, callusing toughness and cauliflower ear.
That was long before the brothers became Colorado state champions. Ponderosa sophomore Cohl Schultz was the winner of the 220-pound title last season, while Mountain Vista senior Trent Schultz walked away the champion at 195 pounds.
Now, with the high school wrestling season underway once again, everything the Schultz brothers have done — and everything they aspire to accomplish this season — can again be traced back to that tattered mat in the garage, where both of them formed a bond with the sport, and with each other.
“Winning my title didn’t really feel real until I saw Cohl get his,” Trent said. “After I won mine, I felt so good, then I remembered Cohl still had to wrestle and I felt myself wanting to warm up like I could wrestle for him. As soon as I saw him win his, everything felt real — it felt like we had really done it.”
Cohl is already making a name for himself as one of the best wrestlers in the nation. He is ranked second in the U.S. at 220 pounds, set the Ponderosa program record for pins last season and was the first freshman in the history of the storied program to be voted captain. Trent, meanwhile, is looking to add to his already-impressive résumé after last year’s title and a runner-up finish at 182 pounds as a sophomore.
The brothers are being heavily recruited by a laundry list of top-tier Division I college programs too, but it’s not the championships nor the recruiting letters that make the sport so important to the Schultz siblings.
Rather, wrestling has been the therapeutic glue between the brothers amid various adversities in their lives, most notably during their parents’ divorce while they were in middle school, which led to a variety of issues within the family. The sport has also kept them close despite the fact that they don’t roam the same halls every day; Trent transferred to Mountain Vista after attending Regis Jesuit his freshman year, while Cohl open enrolled at Ponderosa to maximize his exposure with one of the state’s premier programs.
“The wrestling room’s always a cool place, because it’s away from both houses and there’s no parents in there,” Trent said. “It’s just wrestling, and you can distract yourself for a while because you’re so focused on drilling and your moves and getting them right that you don’t focus on everything else going on in your life. And especially when I’m with my brother, we both forget everything for an hour, two hours — we don’t have to worry about anything else other than what’s right in front of us.”
Cohl echoed Trent’s sentiments, noting that his mat sessions with his older brother have been a stabilizing force in his life.
“We’ve been practice partners with each other since forever, and that’s definitely made us closer,” Cohl said. “And in dealing with some of the family stuff we’ve dealt with over the past several years, that bond has made it easier for us to overcome hardship. We work things out together, through wrestling.”
This season, Cohl has the chance to take another step toward a state championship four-peat, which the sophomore is more than capable of doing considering his work this past summer at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and competing internationally for the U.S. Cadet World Team.
Meanwhile, Trent has the opportunity to finish his prep career with a bang by bringing home another state title at 195 pounds, all the while keeping an eye on a younger brother with the potential to become one of the greatest high school wrestlers this state has ever seen.
And the brothers understand their competition is gunning for them.
“I know that you can’t just get stagnant and expect to become a two-time state champ by training and wrestling the same way you did last year,” Trent said. “We’ve both got to train harder, because there’s big targets on your back when you win something like that.” Kyle Newman: 303-954-1773, firstname.lastname@example.org or @KyleNewmanDP