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October 2, 2023
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New year, new coach: wrestling preview

New year, new coach: wrestling preview
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This years 2017-2018 wrestling squad. There are 22 kids on the team.
Photo by Aaron Kast

Lay out the mats and put on your headgear because a new season of wrestling is here. New leadership and lots of new wrestlers will make for a new season of wrestling.

The team is very young. There are about 22 kids on the co-ed wrestling roster this year. Nineteen boys and three girls make up the JV and varsity squads. Most of the wrestlers are underclassmen, with an exception of about 6 upperclassmen. Not only are there a lot of new athletes  joining the wrestling program, but there is a new coach taking over for Anthony Castillo this year.

Justin Kast is a first year business and technology teacher here at HR and will take over the coaching reins. He is a former collegiate wrestler. Kast wrestled for Penn State from the years 1998-2003.

Kast says his wrestling experience will help him as a coach. When he was in college, Kast said, “I was taught by some of the best clinicians in the country. When you have that higher level exposure, you are taught certain techniques and minute details that could make or break a certain move.”

When asked about goals for the program, Kast said, “The number one goal for the wrestling program this year is to have everyone ready to compete and want to compete on the team, whether that be JV or varsity, and have that team family bonding kind of feel.”  He went on to elaborate that he wants the wrestlers to learn how to wrestle a 6 minute match, which is a huge transition from youth and junior high to high school. Kast said, “I feel that it takes a little while to build that kind of program where they understand the sport and understand the scoring and the other little things that come with wrestling.” He went on to say “having fun” is also a high priority.

Historically, HR has not necessarily been a powerhouse at wrestling, but they have been able to hold their own. There has been a lot of coaching turnover, and Kast is hoping to provide stability, so that this team can be one of the better teams in Highlands Ranch and grow the program.

Some wrestlers to watch this season are junior, Jake Kellogg, who is both a team veteran and a captain; senior Dennon Parks who brings experience, and sophomore, Colton Franklin who made varsity as a freshman last year. Franklin said, “I’m looking forward to seeing how our team does this year and hopefully a lot of us make state.”

Evan Naemura, Staff Reporter

Statistical breakdown of varsity wrestling class by class.
Graphic by Evan Naemura


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New year, new coach: wrestling preview