Carson’s Schlager looking for another shot at state title
Ever since he finished second a year ago at the 4A state wrestling championships, Nick Schlager has thought of nothing else but winning a state title this year.
The process starts today when Schlager leads the Carson High contingent into the first day (3:45 p.m.) of the Northern 4A regional meet at Reno High School. The top three finishers advance to the state meet at UNLV, which begins Feb. 19.
Schlager moved up to the 135-pound class this season and did so with ease. He’s posted an impressive 42-3 record, including an unbeaten season in the Sierra League.
“I’m a little more confident and I think I’m tougher mentally (than last year),” Schlager said. “I’m more relaxed when I go into competition this year. I’m a better wrestler overall.
“I don’t like to be overconfident; don’t like to be cocky. I keep my head. I’m confident that I will win if I wrestle well. If you’re too overconfident, you can get tossed and pinned pretty easily.”
Carson coach Tim McCarthy says Schlager has improved quite a bit this year.
“He’s definitely a better wrestler,” McCarthy said. “He’s better on his feet and he’s better in the neutral position. He’s a cling-on when he’s on the top. It’s hard to get away from him; hard to get an escape or a reversal. He’s improved his top wrestling quite a bit.”
Schlager’s length, and he is all arms and legs, has worked to his advantage. He’s able to keep shorter, stockier opponents off his legs.
“Most guys are smaller, not as tall,” Schlager said. “I know how to use my height, and they haven’t learned how to counter that.”
Nobody has been able to counter much of what Schlager has been able to do this year. He’s only been pinned once all year, and usually stays ahead of his opponent much of his time.
Schlager is on a collision course to meet Colby Garrison of Cimmaron-Memorial in Las Vegas in the state tournament. Garrison has been wrestling at 140 and will drop down for the tournament. Garrison placed third in the prestigious 5 Counties tournament in California earlier this year.
Schlager isn’t sure what the future holds. He’s looking into being an engineer or doctor – he carries 4.5 GPA – and he’s talked to wrestling coaches at UC Davis, Oregon State, Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo and Columbia.
“Columbia would be a great experience, definitely a college experience away from my family,” Schlager said. “The Ivy League means getting a great education. It might be tough to wrestle and still keep up my grades. I’m open to go wherever. It’ll be tough to be away. The longest I’ve been away from my family is 10 days.
“I’ll wait until after everything is over. I’ll see how I feel and whether I want to wrestle in college.”
McCarthy said he wouldn’t be stunned if Schalger opted to concentrate on academics. He added that he sees Schlager moving up to 141 pounds if he continues his career, and at 5-foot-11, there is room to add a few pounds to his frame.
“You have to be crazy to be a college wrestler,” McCarthy said with a laugh. “If Nick wins state it might give him a little more confidence and a boost to go to the next level.”