Article on AIGA Foundation Polynesian All American and Fresno State recruit Karl Mickelsen.
En route to the first day of freshman football practice at Morse High, Karl Mickelsen hit a bump that resulted in a broken wrist.
“I was riding a (skateboard) and I hit the edge of a curb and went face down,” he recalled. “I knew I was hurt so I called the coach and told him I wouldn’t be there. I think he was stunned that I could get hurt just going to practice.”
Mickelsen missed the first four games of his freshman season and might have missed more had he not taken matters into his own hands.
“My doctor told me I’d probably be out three more games, but I couldn’t deal with that,” he said. “So I cut the cast off myself. I just taped it up the rest of the way and finished the season. “I know that upset my doctor and my parents, but I wanted to play at all cost.”
A 6-foot, 220-pound middle linebacker for the Tigers, Mickelsen will serve as the defensive captain of the South in the Alex Spanos All-Star Classic for graduated seniors Friday at San Diego Mesa College.
Mickelsen, who has accepted a scholarship to Fresno State and expects to challenge for a starting berth, said he has one immediate goal.
“I want to end my high school career on a winning note,” he said. “I have faith in my team in helping me reach that goal.”
Participating in all-star games is nothing new for Mickelsen. He played linebacker in the All-American Polynesian Game in Los Angeles in January.
“That was a cool experience,” he said. “I made a lot of friends with guys from Vista and Oceanside. That will only add to the excitement of the Spanos game because I’ll be playing against them.”
Mickelsen said adjusting from Morse’s defensive alignment to the one employed by the South has been a smooth transition.
“I know what they want me to do and I know I’ll be able to do it,” he said.
Mickelsen selected Fresno State over New Mexico State, Wyoming, San Diego State and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo among others.
“We are supposed to report to camp Aug. 3, but I’m leaving early, like the day after this all-star game. I want every edge I can get,” he said.
Among Mickelsen’s high school highlights was a game against Helix when he recorded 18 tackles and one sack.
“The better the team, the more excited I get,” he said.
One of Mickelsen’s biggest fans is South coach Tom Karlo, who heads the Mount Miguel program.
“We have played against Karl the last two years and we were always impressed,” Karlo said. “He was one of the first guys we called to play in this all-star game. Now that we are coaching him we have found that he is an even better person. He’s a great teammate and leader with an unmatched work ethic. Fresno State got themselves a gem.”