By Auburn Larson, Current Staff
After placing fifth at the state wrestling tournament, Cayden Henschel grabbed his video camera.
Henschel, a sophomore at West Bend East High School, is known for being one of the top wrestlers in the state, but he is becoming more popular due to his YouTube vlogs which highlight his daily life. He started posting videos last November.
Vlogs are “video logs” similar to daily journals that have become quite popular in the YouTube community. Henschel, who placed fifth in the 126 pound division Feb. 24 at the state tournament in Madison, was inspired by his friend and fellow teammate, Crosby Schlosser, to start making vlogs five months ago.
“I saw Crosby doing it and I saw how popular YouTube was becoming, so I just wanted to get involved and see what could happen,” Henschel said.
These videos give viewers a glimpse into Henschel’s daily life. They include his morning workouts, family gatherings and time spent with his friends. Henschel has two brothers and twin sisters which adds to the excitement of events such as birthday parties, holidays, or vacations which might otherwise be considered ordinary. His wrestling vlogs are consistently his most popular videos because of the highlights he includes from his and other teammates’ wrestling matches.
After only a few months, Henschel has acquired 390 subscribers, many of whom are classmates and other wrestlers. In addition, five other East wrestlers, including Schlosser, Bryce Henschel, Brady Schmidt, Aden Orth and Damian Zapata, vlog as well.
Other teams from the North Shore Conference have taken notice of their YouTube channels.
“I know Slinger, Hartford and Port Washington know about our vlogs,” Henschel said. “At conference they were asking to be in the vlog. It was pretty funny.”
Henschel says consistency is key when vlogging. He tries to upload as often as he can while still focusing on school and wrestling.
“It’s pretty easy for me to come up with topics for my videos,” Henschel said. “A lot of them are based around wrestling tournaments or anything big that’s happening in my life like birthday parties, holidays, that kind of thing. Sometimes you just have to take something small and make it into something interesting.”
The most viewed video Henschel has produced is his first one, which shows viewers how to get a popular brand of clothing, Anti Social Social Club, for retail price. It has over 9,000 views. He says he tries to use keywords in his title that are often searched to be discovered more often. Other popular videos include his regional, sectional and state wrestling vlogs.
YouTube is potentially a way to make money and become famous but Henschel says that he also has more practical reasons for making his channel. In a time where social media is growing so rapidly, Henschel doesn’t want to miss his chance.
“After I’ve made a lot of videos, it will be cool to look back and see myself,” Henschel said. “It’s something I’d want to show my kids, too.”
Vlogging is becoming a family activity in the Henschel house, as Cayden’s brother and teammate Bryce Henschel has started vlogging too.
“I always wanted to make videos documenting my journey, so seeing him make great videos motivated me to buy a camera,” Bryce said. “Cayden helped me find a good camera and showed me different ways to use transitions in my vlogs.”
Besides the wrestling team and family members, Henschel also includes his friends and neighbors in the videos.
“I’ve been in a couple of videos with Cayden, like the Oreo eating challenge,” East sophomore Conor Pretre said. “He really enjoys it and is always making videos. He has put a lot of work into YouTube and it is exciting to see his channel growing.”
Another way Henschel is using his talent is by helping East athletic director Denny Ziegler to edit his new “What’s Up East Suns” videos which highlight different sports and athletes throughout the year.
“Cayden edits the videos for me and adds the beginning, the music, and the end to each video,” Ziegler said. “He has done a great job. I would like this to evolve where we add some ads or commercials in between groups of interviews so it flows more like a TV show.”
Ziegler says that what really sets Henschel apart from other athletes is his preparation, work ethic and mental toughness. He believes that all of these factors drive Henschel to be the best version of himself in everything he does, whether it be athletics, school or YouTube.
“Cayden is very humble and never takes credit for his success,” Ziegler said. “He is quick to give thanks to his coaches, teammates and others. He also knows his limitations but never lets them define him.”
Henschel is unsure of what he wants to do in the future, and while wrestling in college is an option, he’s not dead set on it.
“I’ll leave my doors open to wrestling in college, if I were to get a scholarship or something,” Henschel said. “College isn’t a necessity for me right now. I really want to work on entrepreneurship ventures and grow a business where I can make a good source of income so that I don’t have to go to college. It only takes one big video to really start making something out of this.”