LONGMONT — Every school has that legend. The one student/athlete that came through and changed the culture and mentality of the whole athletic program.
For Longmont, whose long and illustrious line of athletes is showcased on its Wall of Fame, perhaps none made a greater impact than Matt Engelking during his run in the late 80's and early 90's.
His exploits were highlighted by three consecutive state titles for coach Gordon Cramer's football teams and two state championship wrestling appearances, and it is in the latter sport where he has decided to pursue his first head coaching experience.
Now in his second year at his alma mater, the dynamic of his room has taken a drastically different turn with the introduction of his oldest son Drake to the mix.
"For the most part, it is coach and wrestler, but sometimes when things get heated up, it might be more dad and son," said the elder Engelking, whose team is currently ranked No. 9 by On the Mat rankings. "He is probably in the toughest spot though, just because I am dad."
And it will get even trickier next season when Brayden Engelking moves up to the high school level.
But right now the focus is on Drake on the rest of his Trojans teammates. And while the Engelking moniker carries a lot of expectation, Drake has done a really good job of taking it all in stride and building his own legacy.
"I feel that pressure, but not all of the time," said Drake, who won a wild 15-13 decision at 160 pounds to claim the Gary Daum title at Niwot two weeks ago. "I try not to focus on it much and it really isn't as much pressure as most people think."
That care free attitude has translated to the mat for Drake, who has been wrestling since his was 8 years old. In addition to his time with Longmont, Drake — and Brayden — are member of the Mile High Wrestling club that last weekend sent 10 grapplers to Tulsa for the Flo Tulsa Nationals.
Drake Engelking won his opening match but lost in the second round to eventual 157-pound champion Zane Coleman of Oklahoma. But it was not the end for Drake, who battled back through the consolation bracket and eventually got a chance to wrestleback for second place against Tyler Hannah of Wisconsin.
He made the most out of that opportunity and dominated Hannah, scoring a major decision 16-3 and a runner-up finish.
"I was pleased, but just like every wrestler, you are never pleased and there are still things to work on," said Drake, who made his third trip to the big-time tournament. "But it is totally a huge momentum boost."
Brayden also went to Tulsa and finished 2-2 in the 125 pound bracket that saw Monarch's Xander Rens make it all the way to the title match.
Drake, a very good baseball player too, has his sights clearly set on the Pepsi Center next month before the spring season begins.
"My expectation would be winning the whole thing," he said.
For now the focus for Brayden is simple and it will remain the same when he gets the chance to don the blue and white next season. "I just want to win and get better," he said.
Rest assured that both Drake and Brayden would love to bring home the individual title that eluded their dad, who managed a runner-up finish is junior year and a fifth place podium finish as a senior.