Coached by for­mer Olympians, Cas­tle View wrestlers on the rise

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Kyle New­man

cas­tle rock» A few miles south of the Den­ver metro cir­cle, and just a 20minute drive from 10-time state cham­pion Pon­derosa, wrestlers grind through work­outs in­side Cas­tle View High School.

Cas­tle View isn’t a tra­di­tional pow­er­house in wrestling — or in any sport, for that mat­ter — in just its 11th year of ex­is­tence.

But the Cas­tle View wrestling pro­gram is dis­play­ing signs of be­com­ing very com­pet­i­tive. At the fore­front of the Saber­cats’ devel­op­ment is a sea­soned coach­ing staff. Head coach Ike An­der­son placed sixth in the Greco-Ro­man feath­er­weight divi­sion at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and vol­un­teer coach Kevin Bracken, who also runs the team’s youth pro­gram, placed sixth at 63 kilo­grams in the 2000 Syd­ney Olympics.

Un­der the di­rec­tion of those for­mer Olympians, a pair of Saber­cats are mak­ing their mark. Last sea­son, Ma­lik Hein­sel­man won a Class 5A state ti­tle at 106 pounds, while fel­low ju­nior Tate Sa­muel­son was the 5A state run­ner-up at 160.

With Hein­sel­man and Sa­muel­son as the head­lin­ers, the quickly as­cend­ing Cas­tle View wrestling team is primed to be com­pet­i­tive at the Feb. 16-18 state tour­na­ment. Last sea­son, the Saber­cats qual­i­fied five wrestlers for the state meet and placed 11th.

“They’re show­ing young kids in this Cas­tle Rock area that if wrestling is your pas­sion and it’s some­thing you love to do, you don’t have to go any­where else,” An­der­son said. “And no knock on those other schools, but kids don’t need to trans­fer to a power school that’s noted for wrestling like the Pon­derosas, the Pomonas, the schools that al­ways have big-time wrestlers. We have coaches here run­ning a pro­gram that you can ex­cel in.”

Hein­sel­man has been a known wrestling prodigy in this state for a while. He spent his sum­mer trav­el­ing abroad and com­pet­ing on an in­ter­na­tional level in or­der to im­prove his skills to­ward his goal of some­day be­com­ing an Olympian him­self.

“All sum­mer, Ma­lik com­peted for the USA Wrestling Cadet World Team, so that re­ally helped him go­ing into this year,” An­der­son said. “He took off maybe three weeks dur­ing the whole off­sea­son, be­cause he had to get ready for the world cham­pi­onships in Septem­ber in Tbil­isi, Ge­or­gia. That kept his skills sharp, and he’s started off re­ally well so far this sea­son, un­de­feated and win­ning the North­ern Colorado Christ­mas Tour­na­ment last week­end where no one scored on him or even made it to the se­cond pe­riod.”

Sa­muel­son also had a busy sum­mer, wrestling in ma­jor tour­na­ments such as Fargo Na­tion­als. He placed a re­newed fo­cus on the de­tails of the sport in hopes of be­com­ing a state cham­pion this win­ter.

“He put in a lot work dur­ing the pre­sea­son with his tech­nique and get­ting stronger, and you can tell, be­cause he’s un­de­feated right now,” An­der­son said.

No­table wrestlers for Cas­tle View in­clude Adrian Mar­quez, a sopho­more who qual­i­fied for state at 113 pounds last sea­son, and Justin Lien, a se­nior who qual­i­fied for state at 126 last sea­son.

“We don’t have the depth or the num­bers to take a run at that state (team) ti­tle, but we’re go­ing to try to make some noise,” An­der­son said. “We’re go­ing to make some peo­ple sweat, and try to put Cas­tle View up there in the top five, scar­ing those guys.” Kyle New­man: 303954-1773 knew­man @den­ver­post.com or @KyleNew­manDP

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