Strength test: Casteel wrestling team works out with QCFD to kick off season

Wearing firefighter gear — a jacket, helmet and oxygen tank — the Casteel High School wrestling team partnered with the Queen Creek Fire Department and East Valley Institute of Technology for their first preseason work out this fall.

“We put our heads together as coaches, looking at what can we do to look at their conditioning,” Head Coach Bob Callison said of the unique workout. “As well as kind of make it fun.”

The fire department brought the conditioning exercises, while the East Valley Institute of Technology — also known as EVIT — brought the gear. Every wrestler had to do 15 reps of seven different exercises similar to what firefighters do in the field.

“Having the fire department, with the service they do and the tough job that they have and the condition they do, combining that was a great fit,” Coach Callison said.

The athletes started out with a run, then sit ups and push-ups. From there they got fitted for gear, which included a jacket, helmet and oxygen tank.

“They are running seven different obstacles that are based off what we do out in the field: pulling ceiling, breaching doors, pulling hose, victim removal,” said Fire Captain Cody Gable.

The wrestlers had to simulate opening a fire hydrant, a hose roll and unroll, as well as a body drag. They also used a fire hose to knock down a cone with water.

“They’re tired at the end and that’s a good thing,” Coach Callison said. “It lets them know how tough the job is. And there’s a respect that goes along with that now.”

From the fire department’s standpoint the event was all about building community relationships.

“Coming out and getting these kids possibly interested in a fire career and showing them what it’s about,” Mr. Goble said, describing their desire to train with the teenagers. “Showing them what they are learning in sports, teamwork, the hard work, dedication, the loyalty. All that they are learning in sports can transition over to fire, police, the military.”

A group photo of the Casteel High School wrestling team with Queen Creek Fire Department. (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

Freshman Will Effinger picked out one of the exercises as the hardest.

“The most tiring part was pointing the hose accurately at the cone,” he said. “It was the last event so my body was already tired and I was shaking because the oxygen tank was heavy and I couldn’t hit the hose. I kept missing.”

Freshman Brennan Callison agreed the hardest part was rolling and unrolling the hose, but the event prepared him for the upcoming season.

“I am looking forward to being in high school wrestling,” Callison said.

Senior Skye Mayhew said he learned that being a firefighter is a lot harder than people think.

“The hardest part was my helmet, it kept falling off my face. But it was probably the jabbing,” he said, referring to the exercise that replicated the actions firefighters do in breaking through a ceiling to get to an attic fire.

“If you’re a big guy like us seniors, you pick up the 45-pound bar and you do it,” Mayhew noted.

“I’m proud of our coaches and parents for helping put this together,” said Coach Callison. “I coach freshman football and I am busy with that as well so this is really all their doing. It really is a family atmosphere.”

Arianna Grainey is a freelance photojournalist.

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