Kaleb Dennis has become a top high school wrestler thanks to his talent and work ethic. The Sultan senior placed fifth in the 160-pound weight class at last year’s 1A Mat Classic, and is eyeing a better finish this year.
“He makes coaching enjoyable,” Turks coach Garth MacDicken said. “Anything you ask him to do, he does it without question. He’s a quiet leader, one of the hardest working kids in the room.”
The Herald recently spoke with Dennis about his wrestling career and future plans:
What’s your style on the mat?
Basically I do whatever I feel is best depending on who I’m wrestling. I like to throw now, which is something new for me. Normally I go for a side shot or something like that, take the legs out from the side.
What do you love about wrestling?
The fact that it’s the closest thing (you can do) to scrapping without getting into trouble.
How have you improved as a wrestler over the past few years?
I had never competed in a freestyle match until I went to Australia (two years ago) for the Down Under Sports tournament. It was an amazing experience, and humbling because a lot of wrestlers were better than me, and I had to work hard to compete with them. (Learning freestyle) has helped me to throw more. I used to be mainly a defensive wrestler. This year I just want to throw everybody around.
What else did you do in Australia?
I had a chance to go to the Currumbin (Wildlife Sanctuary), which had a lot of different wildlife. I was also able to go to the Great Barrier Reef and snorkel. That was a really cool experience. I got to swim with some sharks and see a lot of different fish. It was quite a sight to see.
What are your plans for after graduation?
I’ve enlisted in the Navy. I go to boot camp in July, and after that I’ll go to training in California, then get training for the job that I want, then get shipped out. I’ve wanted to be in the military since I was 3 years old. I settled on the Navy because it seems like it’s the best branch for what I want to do.
What career do you want to pursue?
I want to be a construction mechanic. Once I get out of the Navy, I could work for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 302, or for a diesel business like Cummins (Engine Company) or Dynomite Diesel Products. I’ve always been into the hands-on stuff. I like wrenching on things — cars, dirt bikes, whatever. When I was a kid, I’d take my toys apart and put them back together.
What other hobbies keep you busy?
I like to fish and hunt. I fish for salmon and steelhead. I hunt duck over here, and go to Kittitas County in Eastern Washington for turkey and elk. I love getting out into the wilderness and being one with nature.
How would you describe your personality?
Cool, calm and collected. I try to be a friend to everybody and not to have any enemies at all. I’m very easy-going.