Entering his junior year at Dripping Springs High, wrestler Chase Warden’s accolades are beginning to stack up.
This summer, Warden represented the Texas National team at the Cadet and Junior National Championships in Fargo, North Dakota, placing third and fifth in the freestyle and Greco-Roman competitions, which host some of the top high school wrestlers in the country.
“It’s really amazing, it honestly is,” Warden said. “Being able to compete with the best of the best at my age right now, it feels terrific. I just want to keep getting better.”
Warden’s passion for wrestling began at the young age of seven when his father, Chris Warden, introduced him to the sport; his brothers’ involvement in wrestling also sparked Chase’s interest at that age.
Outside of his family, Chase said Penn State champion wrestler Bo Nickals is a wrestler he has looked up to.
However, a lack of confidence, combined with nervousness, held Chase Warden back from accomplishing what he wanted during the early years of his wrestling career. A change in mindset for Warden has catapulted his game on the mat as he is coming into his own as not only one of the best wrestlers in Texas, but in the entire country.
“I didn’t really have a good mindset back then when I was little, because I would just go out there and be really nervous and scared,” Warden said. “But my coach told me it was just about having fun, doing what you like to do, go out there and score points on the board.”
Warden is a key member of the Dripping Springs wrestling team that finished as the third-ranked team in the state last season, as well as competing with the 3F club wrestling team out of Austin. Warden was invited to join the Texas National team after his freshman year, and has competed in both the freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling competitions at the Cadet and Junior National Championships the past two summers.
While competing in the 138-pound weight class in the Cadet division for freestyle, Warden went 6-2 while outscoring his opponents by a combined score of 82-20, earning him fifth place out of the 86 competitors.
“My experience at Fargo for freestyle, my first year I was super nervous and scared because it was a big tournament and I didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” Warden said. “My mindset wasn’t right and I didn’t do good that year. But this year I was used to it and I knew what I was doing, I was calm. I took fifth this year and I feel really good about it.”
Two days after finishing fifth in freestyle, Warden finished third out of the 74 competitors in the Greco-Roman wrestling format. Chase Warden outscored his competition 75-9 in seven matches as he finished with an overall record of 6-1. Grego-Roman wrestling centers on the waist up, with competitors not allowed to use their legs.
“My freshman year I took seventh at Fargo. After freestyle I got a better mindset and I knew how it felt. This year I just got at it and started attacking it. I already knew what I was doing, so it was good to get third,” Chase Warden said.
After an incredibly successful sophomore year where Warden has achieved both excellence at the state and national stage, his junior campaign will be one to watch as he has set a high standard for not only himself but also for the Dripping Springs wrestling team.
The ultimate goal for Warden and the Tigers this year is to bring home a state championship. In order to achieve their goal, Warden said the biggest factor will be the team’s mindset.
“The key is to have a good mindset, put in the hard work and to just have fun with it.” Warden said.