Powell’s Reese Karst earned All-American honors at the National High School Coaches Association Folkstyle Wrestling National Championship tournament in Virginia Beach, Virginia, last spring.
Karst will hope to continue that success for Powell High School in the upcoming wrestling season, as he works to repeat as a state champion.
At the NHSCA folkstyle wrestling tournament in Virginia on March 25-26, around 3,700 participants wrestled, with opponents of their same grade facing off against each other (freshmen vs. freshmen, sophomores vs. sophomores, etc.).
There were over 100 wrestlers in Karst’s 132-pound weight class, and he finished with six wins and three losses to take eighth place.
The top eight in each weight class for each grade earned All-American status. Thirty Wyoming wrestlers attended and five earned All-American honors.
Karst said he enjoyed wrestling at the tournament and “just seeing new people.”
“They were quite a bit tougher,” he said.
Karst started wrestling at the age of 3. Now 17, he is entering his junior year at Powell High School. He’s coming off a sophomore campaign where he won the 3A state championship title in the 132-pound weight class.
“If you want to be all right at it, you definitely have to push yourself,” he said.
With 14 years of commitment to the sport of wrestling, Karst said “there’s definitely been times when I hated it, but now I really like it. It’s just one of those things that grows on you after a while.”
Today, wrestling is Karst’s favorite sport.
“The independent part is definitely a big factor,” he explained, adding that, “in wrestling, if you make a mistake, it’s all on you — you have to deal with what you did yourself.”
Karst also said wrestling makes you aware of your own limitations and abilities.
“I know what I can do and I know what I can’t do,” said Karst. He said that knowledge pushes him to overcome his limitations to make those limitations his strengths.
An example Karst gave to prove his point was, “if you get put in a move and it doesn’t feel good, you’ll know next time that that doesn’t feel good so [you] don’t want to give them the opportunity to do that to [you].”
Karst said wrestling is a “tough” sport.
“You got to get beat up sometimes,” Karst said, though he added that losing is an opportunity to “learn from past experiences.”
“It gives you more aggression,” Karst said. “[It] makes you more aggressive ’cause you’ve been in that place and don’t want to be there again.”
He also said wrestling “definitely teaches you how to be a leader.”
In the practice room, not only are upperclassmen teaching underclassmen techniques and moves but the more experienced are teaching the less experienced.
In the off-season, Karst has helped underclassmen prepare for various competitions.
“If they want to learn I will definitely show them,” he said.
Karst said weight management is “definitely one of the things that scares people away from wrestling because they hear scary stories about cutting weight.” While weight management is a big factor to the sport, “it’s something that you have to do year-round, not just during the season,” he said. Wrestling has made Karst conscious of healthy eating habits that will carry on throughout his life.
After high school, Karst would like to wrestle in college and major in an agriculture-related field.
Karst is in FFA and 4-H and farms about 60 acres by himself raising barley and hay and about 10 head of cattle. He also helps his father and brother with their farming and cattle.
“I feel like I will always be involved [in wrestling],” said Karst. He said the only time he can see not being fully involved in the sport is the time between college and having his own kids.
The Powell High School wrestling season will officially kick off at home next week at the Dec. 8-9 Powell Invitational. Karst has set a goal of closing out his prep career as a three-time state champion.