What’s the biggest downside to being a home-schooled high school boy, according to sophomore Isaac Casey?
“We don’t get to talk to cute girls,” Casey said with a laugh.
Isaac, a sophomore, and his brother, Nolan, a freshman, have been home-schooled their entire lives, so they don’t attend classes at Peninsula High School.
But they still represent the Seahawks with pride.
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Both brothers are three-sport athletes for Peninsula High, playing football in the fall, wrestling in the winter and baseball in the spring. Extra-curricular activities are their chance to not only compete and stay physically fit, but also to branch out socially as home-schoolers.
“It helps a lot,” Nolan said.
And as underclassmen, they’re already opening some eyes on the wrestling mat, too. Isaac boasts a 20-11 record as a sophomore in the 152-pound weight class and Nolan has posted a 17-11 record in the 145- and 138-pound classes.
Isaac won the Decatur Hurricane Harris tournament, took third in the Central Kitsap Matman tournament and third at the South Kitsap Wrestling Invite. Nolan made the finals at the Invite at 138.
“It felt nice (winning the Decatur tournament),” Isaac said. “I feel that I’ve gotten better and still have a lot more room for improvement.”
Nolan has been steadily improving as the season has gone on, and saw evidence of his hard work from taking second in the SK tournament.
“That was really good,” he said. “I had a lot of close matches and good matches.”
Isaac is the quieter of the two, while Nolan is a bit more outgoing. But on the wrestling mat? Practically the opposite.
“Isaac is a little more stoic, while Nolan is a little more fun-loving,” said Peninsula coach Mark Nickels. “But Isaac is a bull out there. He won’t finesse you — he’s just going to try to beat you up. Whereas you’ll see Nolan really try to be a little bit more of a thinker out there and be a little tighter with his fundamentals. Everything Isaac does is hard and heavy. They’ve been great to coach.”
Nickels said they have a great work ethic and have been easy to coach.
“They trust what we’re doing,” Nickels said. “They’re always looking to get better. They’re constantly one of our toughest workers out there. We have a bunch of great workers. They don’t question it, they just keep pushing it. And they wrestle tough. There’s no complaints out of them. They do what they need to do.”
Isaac has his work cut out for him every day in practice, going up against senior Seth Wahto, who has a good shot at making the Class 3A state meet this season.
“He’s really helped me out,” Isaac said. “He won’t give me any cakewalks.”
While the brothers are still learning and improving, Nickels is giddy about their potential.
“We’re really excited about them as they develop,” the coach said. “I think Isaac is really starting to emerge. He’s been working out some kinks. I think the more mat time he gets, he puts those things together and I think his real breakthrough year will be next year. I think he’ll be able to start making a name for himself. And Nolan, same thing. He’s had a great freshman year. Given our schedule, and the tournaments we go to, we’re not looking to pad a record.
“We’re looking to challenge our kids now and work through that. What I really appreciate about the way they wrestle, they don’t take those losses as major hits to their confidence. That’s just one step to getting better. We come back in the room and figure out what we need to do. We see how they perform and come back and try to get better from it. They’ve got a great attitude about that.”