This year, Justin Kast, the technology and engineering teacher at HR, took over leadership of the wrestling team from previous coach, Anthony Castillo. As the new head coach of the wrestling team, he has guided HR to the wrestling state finals at the Pepsi Center on Feb. 15.
The student who qualified for the state championship was Dennon Parks, senior at HR. Parks said, “Coach Kast is really cool. He knows what he’s doing and knows when to push us and prepare us but also knows when to take a step back and run over techniques.”
After the 2016-2017 wrestling season, Kast officially took up the mantle as head coach. Kast said, “At first, I was planning on helping the team as an assistant but the head coach of the team [Anthony Castillo] stepped down. I decided that it was in the best interest of the wrestlers for me to become head coach because I work in the building. I’m always accessible for the wrestlers for help, especially during the season.”
Both Parks and Caden Lone, sophomore at HR, agree that Kast has had a positive effect on the team as head coach. Lone said, “Coach Kast is nice and fun and knows how to run a wrestling room.”
With the transfer between wrestling coaches from 2016 to 2018, Lone said, “This season was a lot better [than last season]. Everyone improved a lot. This shows that Kast has been doing his job well.”
Kast said, “Overall, I think the season was a positive one because I saw significant improvement between the first-year guys, and more importantly, the veterans on the team. “
One of Kast’s most recent coaching achievements, as stated previously, was helping Parks make state and earn 7th place in the 145 pound weight class. During the state meet at the Pepsi Center, Parks won his match against an athlete from Doherty HR with a score of four to two. This win allowed Dennon to wrestle further into the state meet and make his team proud.
As the 2017-2018 season concluded, Kast said, “I enjoyed coaching. I mean it was a challenge. Being a head coach for a high school has a lot of challenges, but overall it was fun.”
For the foreseeable future, Kast will remain as the head coach of the wrestling team. Kast said, “Next season, I’m raising my expectations, especially for the juniors. They need to understand that success won’t happen overnight and that they need to work hard and practice over the summer and wrestle kids from different schools. If they do this, they’ll see big improvements.“
Caden Robertson, Staff Reporter