When he graduates in May, Dan Kasberg will have 12 varsity athletic letters at Smoky Hill High School.
The 17-year-old senior’s lettermans’ jacket will include four each from wrestling, cross country and track, making him a big part of the school’s athletic landscape. He’s run three times in the Class 5A state cross country meet and also qualified for the 5A state wrestling tournament at the Pepsi Center last season.
Currently the 13th-ranked wrestler in 5A at 120 pounds by On The Mat and a placer at just about every tournament this season, Kasberg is hoping for a second state berth. The home mat could give him an edge, as Smoky Hill plays host to the Region 1 tournament.
Kasberg has a 3.96 GPA and has been accepted into the Naval Academy, where he will wrestle or run cross country.
What is your favorite high school memory, athletically or otherwise?
My favorite memories from school are all the hours of work that I have put in with my teammates in wrestling, cross country, and track. If I had to pick one moment so far, I would say qualifying for state in wrestling last year was my best memory.
What is the biggest sacrifice you have to make to play your sport?
The biggest sacrifice I make for wrestling is undoubtedly cutting weight. When I’m cutting weight, food seems to be the only thing I can think about.
What’s the best piece of advice ever given to you in sports or in life?
There are two bits of advice which I really like. The first is a quote from Ken Chlouber which our cross country coach uses: “You are better than you think you are, you can do more than you think you can.” The second piece of advice that I really like is the concept of Kaizen. Kaizen, in Japanese, means continuous improvement, and that is my goal in whatever I’m doing.
Are you a leader? If so, what do you think makes a good leader in yourself or others?
I am a leader. What makes a good leader is work ethic. If you’re not working hard, you can’t expect to make others work hard. I really think leading by example is the best way to lead.
Do you have any quirks or superstitions when it comes to your sport or in life in general?
One of our cross country coaches gets our state team race socks every year, and I wear them for races and sometimes even wrestling matches.
If you listen to music before a game, what gets you most ready for competition? If not, how do you get focused?
My playlist before competition is basically “Sail” by AWOLnation, “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons, “Heart of a Champion” by Nelly, “Shipping Up To Boston” and some 50 Cent.
What’s a sport you’ve always wanted to try, but haven’t and why haven’t you?
I’ve always wanted to try Rugby, but I never had the opportunity before high school, and once I was in high school I became too invested in other sports. I heard of a team through wrestling and I might try it this summer!
If you could pick a person living or dead to spend a day with, who would it be and why?
If I could spend a day with anyone, it would be my Grandpa on my Dad’s side. I never really knew him, but I know he was a great person, and I would really enjoy a day with him.
Other than sports, do you have another true passion in life and if so, what is it and why?
During this wrestling season, with my mind always on food, I became really interested in cooking, so I guess that would be my passion outside of sports. Once I get some free time I’m going to start learning to cook.
What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?
In 10 years I see myself continuing my career in the Navy, wherever that takes me, and if possible starting a family.
Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at [email protected] or 303-750-7555