The beer company Dos Equis used to run an advertisement campaign centered around a silver-haired older man layered in a gravely Latino accent. A character amalgam of Ernest Hemmingway machismo and all the cool of James Bond.
They’d say in the commercials he could and did do it all because in fact he was The Most Interesting Man in the World. The concept (later turned meme phenomenon) ran from 2006 for the better part of a decade, always highly ridiculous with every new crazed tale or wild skill set put forth.
Of course it can be more of a trip when you meet someone resembling that in the flesh.
Zack Wojtalik is a senior on the Centaurus High School football team, and you might think he’s already lived a life 10 times over.
Just turned 17 this week, Wojtalik has the qualifications to go to MIT as well as shred powder on a snowboard faster than anyone his age.
He’s a sail instructor down at Boulder Reservoir, teaching kids one breeze at a time. Once, he recalled, he took a 50-footer around the Virgin Islands for three weeks.
Recently, he worked on a research paper focused on hydrogen fuel cells, studying (in layman’s understanding) how to store more energy into smaller places. Hearing him explain it without a science degree, you eventually just trust that aspiring environmental engineer with a 4.7 high school GPA knows what he’s talking about.
He also plays three kinds of saxophones in the band, mountain bikes for the school, and he said he wants to wrestle and play baseball this winter and spring.
And like those hydro cells he’s so curious about, it can all be crammed tightly together (in his case, into a 24-hour, seven-day week).
Then there’s football.
“It’s probably a once-in-a-coach’s lifetime to have someone with that much of a skill set and that variety of interests,” Centaurus coach Andy Hampton said. “He’ll pick up something and he goes 100% at everything. He’s going to try and be the best he can in whatever he does.”
The Warriors haven’t had a winning season on the gridiron since 2015, though the coach believes he has the players to end that dubious streak.
In their next attempt to rise above .500, they’ll play the 2022 season in a newly formed league, which includes a couple Denver and Colorado Springs schools as well as Thornton.
On roster they have a nice young quarterback in Chance Wood. A playmaking receiver in Ethan Roeder. A proven running back in Ben Mischke. And who could forget the doer-of-all things under the sun and on the gridiron, Wojtalik.
The senior leader — listed at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds — is expected to play at tight end, defensive end, linebacker and long snapper. Hampton said by the end of the fall he believes Wojtalik will have played in at least eight different spots on the field.
“He’s happy to do it all,” the coach said, fully aware of his understatement.
For college football prospects, Wojtalik is being recruited primarily as a defensive end, the position he professes to love most, but does say he would play anywhere on the field.
And if his high school coaches are right, there could be more interest to come in the midst of a potential breakout season.
“It’s the same thing with snowboarding,” said Wojtalik, who has been a top-10 national snowboarder in his age bracket the last four years (per Big Mountain Snowboarding’s rankings). “It’s easier to learn but incredibly difficult to master.”
Last winter’s winner of the International Freeskiers and Snowboarders Association’s Junior Championship continued: “I’ve been snowboarding since I was 5, so I’ve spent over 11 years trying to master the sport. Same with football, learning so many positions and trying to master them and develop in them.
“Making an impact at each position has made it a challenge every day, which is always appreciated.”
Wojtalik and Centaurus began the fall football season at home against Boulder Friday night.