Free State’s Caleb Streeter off to strong start during senior season with dad as head coach
photo by: Contributed photo
Free State wrestler Caleb Streeter is a three-time state qualifier and is off to an undefeated start to his senior campaign. He’s on the verge of reaching 100 career wins and is currently ranked No. 2 in the 138-pound weight class in Class 6A.
But the best is yet to come for Streeter, who has signed to wrestle at Newman University. Newman is where Free State’s first-year head coach Randy Streeter, Caleb’s father, believes his son will reach his full potential on the wrestling mat.
“He hasn’t touched his ceiling at all,” Randy Streeter said. “As he is becoming an adult, he is just now seeing what his potential could be. He’s super fast, he’s super explosive and he’s really mat savvy. He’s just exponentially growing every day.”
That is ultimately why Caleb Streeter picked Newman. It is a program that will get the most out of Streeter, because his Free State career hasn’t really afforded him that opportunity.
Streeter has had three different coaches in his four-year career at FSHS. The lack of continuity on the coaching staff has prevented Streeter from having a clear structure, as most coaches have different philosophies and their own plan of attack.
All of that has changed for the better this year with Streeter’s dad guiding the program. The two of them have worked together for as long as Streeter has been a wrestler since he picked up the sport at six-years-old, but this is the first season that Randy Streeter has been at the helm at the high school level.
“He’s easy to coach,” Randy Streeter said of his son. “He’s a super great kid, and he’s very respectful. It’s pretty easy for me with this (entire) group. They have a lot of respect for me, and I have a lot of respect for them.”
Of course, being coached by your dad comes with its own unique circumstances. Caleb Streeter’s younger brother, Eric Streeter, is also familiar with that dynamic.
“It’s different,” Caleb Streeter said. “There are obviously different rules. He treats me more like an athlete than a son, but it’s also reversed. It’s different, but we have adjusted well to it, and I love that he’s my coach.”
photo by: Courtesy photo
Under a new coach, Streeter is primed to have his best season as a high school wrestler. Streeter is 8-0 after one month of the 2020-21 season. He is only ranked behind Washburn Rural senior Bowan Murray in the 138-pound weight class in Class 6A.
As a team, the Firebirds are 10-0 on the year and ranked No. 7 in Class 6A after being unranked in the preseason. In their final meet before winter break, FSHS upset then-No. 7 Junction City by a 51-21 margin. Streeter picked up two of his biggest that day, both of which came via a major decision.
In the second half of the season, FSHS hopes to face more challenges like that as a team. Streeter, in particular, expects to be tested more in preparation for the postseason.
“I think I’m doing very well,” Streeter said of his senior season. “We are hoping to (face) some bigger teams and better opponents. I’m hoping to find some good competition to get ready for February.”
Streeter has been eliminated in the “blood round” in each of his first three trips to the state tournament. Streeter not only expects to make the podium this year, but he has aspirations of being at the top of the podium during the final meet. And his coach has complete confidence that he can do just that.
“When it comes to January, we have some pretty good challenges for not just him but our team in general,” Randy Streeter said. “I expect him to have 30-plus wins and I expect him to be at least in the state finals. We feel pretty good about it. He’s a big-time leader in the room.”
In order to end his high school career on a high note, Caleb Streeter put in a lot of work in the offseason. Even though it was never certain that there would be a season, he spent a lot of time working on his craft with his brother and dad.
Streeter spent a majority of his practice time working on his ability to make things happen on his feet. Streeter’s strengths as a wrestler are when he’s on top. Because of his high I.Q. within the sport, he has a knack for seeing moves that other wrestlers simply can’t.
At the same time, Caleb Streeter understands the importance of becoming a well-rounded wrestler.
“I need to work on my feet and taking more shots,” he said. “I feel like I’m a good wrestler. But when it comes to being on my feet, wrestlers just know that I’m not the greatest on my feet. I need to learn how to adapt to that.”
photo by: Courtesy photo
Streeter’s most memorable moment of his high school wrestling career came when he won an individual Sunflower League title as a freshman. He hasn’t been able to do that since, but is in a good position to secure more postseason hardware come February.
Before any of that, Streeter has another milestone he would like to accomplish. Streeter, who currently has 92 career victories, hopes to reach the 100-win mark after the break. It is a feat that he began striving for as a freshman.
“Not many people have done that at Free State,” Streeter said. “That’s triple digits. I think only a couple have done it at Free State, so I’d love to be one of those.”
Randy Streeter, who was on the Lawrence High staff at the time, is the one who gave Caleb that goal as something to work toward. It is a notable achievement and one that Streeter would like to see more Firebirds strive for.
“I said that could be done if he had a good freshman year and he did,” Randy Streeter said. “That was very important to me too. It is just a milestone that young wrestlers can look to. We need to make that a bigger deal at Free State than it has been in the past.”
Free State is allowed to return to wrestling practice on Monday, Jan. 4. FSHS will face Olathe East and Gardner Edgerton at home on Saturday, Jan. 9.