Senior Spotlight: Joe Pins, Dubuque Hempstead

Photo by Adam Rang

Do you have any family who wrestled before you? How did they do?
My father wrestled all four years in high school and was a state qualifier and is a big influence on me to continue to wrestle.

Did you catch on to wrestling quickly or was it a gradual process?
It may seem like wrestling is easy for me but that’s only because of the hours of help from coaches day in day out and after repetition I get a hang of it.

What club did you wrestle for growing up and how would you describe your experience with the club?
I wrestled in the Western Dubuque wrestling club under Dan Gotto. Dan was a great coach and I’m still say "hi" to him any chance I get. I think he was a large influence in laying a great foundation for wrestling.

Who were your wrestling heroes growing up?
Growing up wrestling wasn’t as big as it is now. I wrestled 1/3 of the year, played baseball 1/3 and played football 1/3 of the year. I couldn’t even tell you who JB was when I grew up, but I did see my cousin, Kevin Kluesner, who won state his senior year undefeated!

How did you finish at state tournaments in youth?
As I kid, I was alright but didn’t have the structure that the high school gave me to really compete to the level that I need to succeed. I placed 4/4 time that I qualified for the state tournament, never above 5th though.

How did you finish at the state tournaments you wrestled in at the HS level?
Freshman year (113) I didn’t place, sophomore year(120) and junior year (126) I placed 3rd and my senior year I finally got the job done and got first at 132

Was there ever a point in your career where you noticed yourself jumping levels and making huge strides?
I think I’ve always made constant gains through my four years, but that came when I reached high school and when I wrestled pretty much all year round.

What are your wrestling goals now that you are moving on from high school?
My goal moving past high school is very similar to high school, get the very most out of my genetic potential. I’m excited for a new challenge and the first step is to make the starting line up and go from there.

How would you describe your wrestling style? Who would you compare yourself to?
I would describe my wrestling style as six minutes of hard wrestling and pushing the pace.

Do you have any regrets from wrestling or did you leave it all out there?
I’m confident in saying that I left my high school wrestling career with nothing to chance and everything left out on the mat.

What other sports do you play and how have you done at them?
I played baseball for three years and played four years of football, two of those four were played as the starting varsity kicker!

What are some of your hobbies besides wrestling? And what is a favorite memory?
Besides wrestling, I love to hunt and camp in the outdoors. I think it’s nice to just get outside and be in the nature. My favorite memory is a weekend where my friends and I went kayaking and camping for the weekend.

What is your favorite HS wrestling memory?
My favorite wrestling memory is undoubtedly when I won my state finals night. For one, it was something else to do something that you see so many other people do as you grow up but also all the friends and family that you see that night and how proud they are of you.

What is some of the best advice you ever received?
It’s impossible for me to pick out one thing that has helped me but I do know that I’ve learned so much from all the coaches that have helped me on and off the mat

Do you have any advice for up and coming wrestlers?
Be open minded about other people and be kind to everyone on and off the mat.

Who were some of the most influential coaches you worked with at the youth and HS level?
One coach that has been most influential for me so far in my life is Brett Haas. For starters, I could go on and on about story and memories that only we can share and laugh about. From Regional duals to Regional freestyle tournaments, Brett has been in my corner through it all. Besides being extremely knowledgeable about all wrestling, he’s always looked out out for my best. And although he probably doesn’t hear it enough, I am extremely grateful for everything that he has done for me!!

What was some of your favorite tournaments?
I always love the state tournament because you know your going to get a good match. Every match, along with the large crowd, adds to the excitement of winning a state title. Who wouldn’t love it?

What are your college plans? Is wrestling in your future whether it be competing or coaching?
I plan to wrestle at Wartburg college and study engineering!

What is the future outlook for Hempstead wrestling?
I think Hempstead wrestling has a lot of young and hungery guys ready to learn and get better with a great set of upper class men to lead the underclass men. And if everyone buys in to reach the a common goal of winning, there’s no limit to what the future of DH Wrestling can accomplish.