Coached by former Olympians, Castle View wrestlers on the rise
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