SEWARD, Neb. – Winner of the voting for NAIA National Wrestler of the Week honors on Wednesday, junior Andrew Schulte is not ready to celebrate. He’s triumphed in 12-straight matches, has received two-straight GPAC wrestler of the week awards and is now 26-6 overall this season.
At last week’s NWCA National Duals in Fort Wayne, Ind., the native of Corona, Calif., went a perfect 5-0 while recording three wins over ranked opponents. He twice defeated Lindsey Wilson College’s (Ky.) sixth-ranked Daniel Leonard and then authored a major decision over Ottawa University’s (Kan.) Tyler Hinton. Schulte is on a tear that head coach Dana Vote calls the most dominant that he’s seen from anyone he has ever coached.
But the real prize comes at the national championships in March. Schulte reacted modestly to Wednesday’s announcement.
Said Schulte, “To be honest, I find it kind of distracting, only because I don’t feel the need to celebrate anything yet.”
A 2015 NAIA All-American at 141 pounds, Schulte got his taste of the big stage at last year’s national championships, where he finished in fifth place in his respective weight class. He owns a 46-10 career record as a Bulldog since transferring from Santa Ana College. Only one time out of eight tries as a Concordia grappler has he missed placing at a tournament. Naturally, Schulte believes he can beat anyone.
“The key to that was believing in myself. That’s all that mattered,” Schulte said. “Rankings didn’t really make a difference to me.”
Neither Schulte nor his head coach have shied away from high expectations. With a new level of experience and comfort in his first full season wrestling at Concordia, Schulte is gunning for the ultimate accomplishment that an individual wrestler can achieve.
“I see myself at the top of the podium,” Schulte said. “I have the courage to say that because I know that these weeks right now are the most important. They’re more important than the weeks of March and the weeks of February. It’s right now.”
On return to 141 pounds
I feel strong at that weight class.
On standing compared to this time last year
Improved. I’m definitely a lot more aware of myself. Last year (at this time) I just got going so I was just seeing where it took me.