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    August 8, 2022 Leesburg, Va. RSS |

    Chase Arnestad, who won 150 matches at the 120- and 126-pound weight classes over his four-year career at Riverside High School in Leesburg, Va., will give Liberty University’s men’s wrestling team added depth and competitiveness in its lightweight classes starting this fall.

    Arnestad, who won the National Wresting Coaches Association (NWCA) and United States Marine Corps’ Character and Leadership All-American Award for his academic excellence, mental toughness, work ethic, and integrity, will strengthen the spirit and fuel the fire in the Flames’ wrestling room and help the four-time-defending NCWA National Duals and NCWA Grand National champions continue their dynasty.

    “I work hard in the room and also help out a lot in the community,” said Arnestad, who started wrestling in second grade and now trains young wrestlers in his Northern Virginia community in and out of seasons at Riverside and the Leesburg-based Ranger Wrestling Club.

    Chase Arnestad

    He has specialized in the sport after trying his hand at basketball for a couple of years and realizing his diminutive frame was not best suited for the hardcourts, but the wrestling mat.

    “Basketball didn’t really work out for me,” Arnestad said. “When I was younger, I actually didn’t really like (wrestling) as much. My dad forced me to go to practice when I didn’t want to, but when I came back from a basketball camp, I realized I loved the sport. The community was great. Everyone worked hard; nobody slacked off. Being with that community and seeing myself change, it kind of lit a fire in me and I didn’t want to stop.”

    He served as a team captain and placed fifth as a junior and second as a senior at the Virginia High School League state championships while at Riverside, which underwent a rebuilding phase over the past few seasons.

    “As a team captain, I had to make sure I keep my spirits up after matches because if I didn’t go out there and try my hardest or got quiet after losing a match, that could start a trend,” said Arnestad, who is normally an extravert off the mat. “When I’m with my team, I’m usually bouncing around, pretty energetic, just helping everyone out. I like to try to lead by example and I always tried to set the tone, set the pace high so all my other teammates would try as hard as they could as well.”

    At Liberty, Arnestad plans to study elementary or secondary education with plans to become both a teacher and a wrestling coach, to share the life lessons he has learned through the sport that also developed his discipline and character.

    “Wrestling’s really taught me a lot about being humble as well as the importance of having a really good work ethic,” he said. “When it’s you and your opponent on the mat, how much work you put in beforehand really determines how you will do. It’s also given me a desire to give back what wrestling has done for me, which is one of the reasons why I help out with the younger kids at my club.”

    He has also helped sharpen his younger brother, Flynn, a rising seventh-grader who won a youth national championship in Utah and placed third at the U.S. Open in Las Vegas this past spring.

    In late June, Arnestad participated in the Liberty Wrestling Camp to get an early look at the Flames’ program and facilities in the Club Sports Training Complex.

    Arnestad picks up an opponent before scoring a takedown.

    “It’s an amazing room and the wrestling team offers a lot,” Arnestad said. “I didn’t expect to have personal athletic trainers and a personal weightlifting room, which is really awesome. All of the college wrestlers there were great. They worked me out and I’m excited to work with them. I’m going to try to increase the pace and help lead well because I want to keep making the program stronger.”

    He is most looking forward to being mentored by Flames Head Coach Jesse Castro, who he met on a previous visit to Liberty, and sparring with rising Flames 125-pound senior Dante Minnino, one of seven individual national champions at last spring’s NCWA Grand Nationals in Texas.

    “I feel like he’s going to be an amazing partner if I’m able to wrestle with him,” said Arnestad, who realizes he will probably end up contending for a starting spot at 133 pounds. “Dante will teach me a lot. (Castro) seemed like an awesome coach, and the program is a great fit for me to continue my wrestling career. Being at a Christian school will be better for me, to guide me on the right path for a better future.”

    By Ted Allen/Staff Writer