‘I just put my head down and get to work’

Warnick shines on MIHS wrestling squad.

Chase Warnick strives to gain mental strength and toughness on and off the wrestling mat.

The Mercer Island High School sophomore and team captain battles his opponents at 145 pounds and had amassed a 20-4 record for the Islanders this season at press time.

“I feel like the mindset that you get from wrestling, like, how hard it is, how gritty you have to be and all the work that you have to put in is just a really good life skill to learn,” said Warnick, whose team sported a 7-1 record in dual meets at press time.

Last year’s 3A KingCo tournament 145-pound champion is joined at the captain’s helm by fellow standouts Clark Koopman, Gordon Gibson and Daniel Bahner. Warnick, a three-year wrestler — who delved into the jujitsu realm when he was 3 — stands strong as the voice of direction on the squad in the practice room by keeping teammates on task and helping out with moves.

“Sometimes, I just put my head down and get to work, and the other guys will kind of follow what I do,” said Warnick, who also competes for the Mat Demon Wrestling Club in Kent.

On the team front, Warnick said the Islanders are aiming to build a state-caliber squad and they’re firmly on track thus far. It’s been a solid experience giving the program a lift with his friends and coaches as they prepare for more dual meets that pave the way for crucial postseason tournaments.

The Reporter asked Warnick a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into his life:

What would be a dream job for you in the future?

I don’t really know my dream job. I know I want to go to college for business and work somewhere in the finance field. Something about finance and business sounds like it would be fun.

What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received?

If you’ve got to feel some way — feel unbeatable. I tell that to some of the freshmen who are freaking out before the big tournaments because they’re always feeling nervous. I just tell them, feel unbeatable before they go out there on the mat because it puts you in the right state of mind.

If you could go to dinner with one person, who would that be?

Kurt Cobain or Layne Staley or someone who’s just died too young.

Who are your favorite bands?

I kind of bounce around between genres, but for rock, I’m really into Alice in Chains and Audioslave and Pearl Jam.

What’s a skill that you’d like to learn? Not necessarily a wrestling skill, but just anything?

I’m always trying to gather knowledge and figure out how to do things more effectively, more efficiently. So I feel like just over time, I’ve gotten really good at picking up new skills and trying to make things easier for me.

What would be maybe one of those skills?

Over the summer, I got into reading a lot because I noticed that I wasn’t reading. I’m really into writing as well, so I’m taking honors writing classes, and a good way to help your writing is to be really good at reading. So I picked up reading, and I would just pick up books that I had in my room and just start reading them.

What’s one of the books?

I read “Lord of the Rings,” which is a pretty big one, and it took me a little bit, but then I read “To Kill a Mockingbird” and a bunch of other books. Right now, I’m reading “Frankenstein.”

What super power would you like to have?

Super speed. I feel like it’s got a long range of capabilities because of all the science stuff you can do with it.

So if you’re having a tough day there at school or whatnot, what’s a good way to break out of it?

I just go in the library. I’ll sit down at one of the booths and just listen to music or talk to my friends. It’s a pretty nice space in there.