Schultz broth­ers ready to de­fend wrestling ti­tles

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Kyle New­man

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, knew­man@den­ver­post.com or @KyleNew­manDP

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