Klingsheim hopes to qualify for the 2012 Summer Games in Greco-Roman wrestling and the 2016 games in freestyle wrestling. If he’s able to accomplish both, he’ll be the first person to qualify for the Olympics in both disciplines. He also wants to qualify for the World Team competition next year. This past year, he qualified for the World Team Trials but was unable to go due to his school schedule.
His more immediate goal, however, is to do a good job wrestling for head coach Mark Manning at the University of Nebraska, which, along with Iowa State, won the 2009 Big 12 Conference championship tournament. In addition to their conference tournament success, the Cornhuskers finished third at the NCAA tournament.
Klingsheim said he wants to be “at least a four-time NCAA placer and also win a national championship” while at Nebraska. Although he could have gone to school pretty much anywhere, he chose Nebraska because of its elite wrestling program, as well as the school’s academic reputation.
To say that Klingsheim had a successful high school wrestling career would be an understatement. As a junior in 2008, he won the California Interscholastic Federation State Wrestling Championship in the 112-pound weight class. As a senior he won the same tournament again – only this time he was wrestling in the 119-pound class. His record in his senior year was a perfect 56-0.
Although his state championship victories came in his final two years, he was successful for all four years. In his sophomore year, he finished in fifth place in the 112-pound weight class. As a freshman, he finished in eighth place in the 103-pound class. In total, Klingsheim was only the 18th person to ever place all four years at state.
He finished first in the Greco-Roman Junior Division and fifth in the 130-pound Division of the Junior Freestyle at the recent ASICS/Vaughan National Championships in Fargo, N.D. That earned him double All-American honors for the tournament, giving him seven All-American awards for his high school career.
Despite his accomplishments, Klingsheim acknowledges that he couldn’t have done it by himself. He credits his family, coaches Greg Chappel and Roy Rios, Ken Turnage at K2 Construction, and Rudy Dizon, who helped him get his scholarship with Nebraska, as well as the Brentwood community as a whole.
In the end, Klingsheim is thankful that he got into wrestling and encourages younger kids to do so as well. “Wrestling opened doors and created opportunities,” he said, adding that wrestling helped him build relationships that would otherwise have passed him by.