Senior Spotlight: Chase Luensman,Monticello

By Joshua Swafford for The Predicament

When did you start wrestling? Who introduced you to the sport?

I started wrestling when I was 5 years old. My dad and two of my uncles introduced me to the sport.

Were there any people from Monticello who stick out as being athletes that you looked up to growing up as a wrestler?

I always looked up to the high school guys when I was younger, but as I got older I mainly idolized Monticello’s first state champ, Logan McQuillen and a wrestler who’s name was familiar amongst my uncles, Landon Felton.

Do you have any family who wrestled before you? How did they do?

My dad along with his three brothers wrestled throughout high school, one of which, Luke, qualified for state.My dad, Dom and his brother, Luke, both wrestled at the University of Dubuque.

Did you catch on to wrestling quickly or was it a gradual process?

Wrestling for me has never been something I’ve picked up on quickly. It has always been a prolonged process with me, but with repetition came success.

What club did you wrestle for growing up and how would you describe your experience with the club?

Growing up I wrestled for a club out of Monticello known as MWC Elite. My experience with the club was a good one with great coaches, but not a whole lot of diversity when it came to practice partners. As I got older, I began to travel to Cedar Rapids and train at DC Elite out of Coe, now Hiawatha. DC provided me with a multitude of partners which helped me develop a better feel for specific positions I would often get in.

What are a couple memorable moments from youth wrestling?

A couple memorable moments from my youth wrestling career would include my trip to Indianapolis, IN my 6th grade year to schoolboys duals and placing second twice at USA State, losing in the finals once to Adam Allard and once to Lance Runyon.

Who were your wrestling heroes growing up?

My wrestling heroes growing up included many camp clinicians I was able to learn from, as well as a couple others I watched compete at the collegiate level such as : David Taylor, Logan Steiber, Kyle Dake, Tony Ramos, Matt McDonough, and Derek St. John.

How did you finish at state tournaments in youth?

When I was younger, I struggled to find success at youth state tournaments. I would often not place or place low. As I got older, I found much more success.

How did you finish at the state tournaments you wrestled in at the HS level?

At the high school level, I qualified my freshman year, took 5th my sophomore year with a broken toe, 4th my junior year, and 3rd my senior year.

Was there ever a point in your career where you noticed yourself jumping levels and making huge strides?

I began making huge jumps and closing the gap on my competitors once I began training with a purpose and expanding my horizons by competing at national events whenever possible.

You have had some HUGE wins in Freestyle over the years. Just this year you won freestyle state in a loaded bracket. What is your favorite style of wrestling? Freestyle or Folkstyle?

By far my favorite style of wrestling is freestyle. I would even go as far to say that I enjoy Greco more than folk style. I would say that comes from the fact that the United States is the only country that actually wrestles folk style, and with an internationally competitive mindset, freestyle is ‘where it’s at,’ plus, I think freestyle is more fun.

Who were some of your toughest competitors in HS?

A few of my toughest competitors in high school include: Wil Esmoil (West Liberty), Donny Schmidt (Wapsie Valley), Luke Radeke (Vinson-Shellsburg), Grant Hoeger (Dyersville), and Chase McLaren (Atlantic-Cam).

What are your wrestling goals now that you are moving on from high school?

Moving on from high school my goals are geared towards a national title.

How would you describe your wrestling style? Who would you compare yourself to?

My wrestling style right now is more of a technical oriented style with an emphasis on my conditioning, but I also take into account that I lift weights often to edge my opponents with adequate strength as well. Honestly, I’m not sure who’d I’d compare to off the top of my head, but if I had to say one it would probably be Jordan Burroughs. Obviously he is a much more accomplished wrestler than I, but both him and I have an oddly stiff core and wrestle a similar style.

Do you have any regrets from wrestling or did you leave it all out there?

My regrets from youth and high school wrestling would be simply not preparing mentally enough on occasion as well as starting to dedicate myself sooner.

What other sports do you play and how have you done at them?

I’ve played several sports in my past and have ended up decommitting to almost all of them because of schedule conflicts with wrestling. I had some great success in nearly all of them because of my competitive upbringing, but nothing compared to my wrestling career.

What are some of your hobbies besides wrestling?

My hobbies besides wrestling include: lifting weights, watching movies, playing board games, going out to eat, hosting bonfires, and spending time with my friends.

What is your favorite HS wrestling memory?

My favorite high school wrestling memory is winning my last match against Jack West from Winterset and taking a moment to really take in the environment as I was walking back to the warmup area

What is some of the best advice you ever received?

Some of the best advice I had ever received is just to have fun, because wrestling isn’t worth all the time and energy without having goals and having fun.

Do you have any advice for up and coming wrestlers?

Advice for upcoming wrestlers is just to have fun and live in every moment, because no moments lasts long enough.

Who were some of the most influential coaches you worked with at the youth and HS level?

The most influential coaches to me at the youth and high school level were my uncles, Dusty Coufal, and Nathan Eichorist.

What are your college plans? Is wrestling in your future whether it be competing or coaching?

My college plans are to attend the University of Upper Iowa to wrestle and major in exercise science and psychology with and emphasis in physical therapy. I’ve never given much thought to coaching because of my occupational goals, but I’d be open to the idea.