While sitting in the lobby of Lehigh’s Caruso Complex, the home of the Lehigh wrestling team, redshirt sophomore Cortlandt Schuyler looks upon all the history of the long program.
With the All-Americans and national champions lining the walls, Schuyler has no other ambition but to add himself to the list of great Lehigh wrestlers.
Confidence is just the first step in becoming a national champion, and Schuyler has taken that step and many more to get himself to this point in his wrestling career. Schuyler was recruited out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he attended Manheim Township High School. During his senior year in high school, Schuyler placed seventh in the state of Pennsylvania at 138-pound weight class.
Upon arriving for his freshman year Schuyler was redshirted, but that did not stop him from gaining valuable experience as a college wrestler. As a freshman, he competed in multiple open tournaments, and the only parameter to this was he was not allowed to wear a Lehigh wrestling singlet. It was during this time where Schuyler gained the confidence that he could hang with the best wrestlers in the country as he started beating people who were ranked higher than him in high school.
“I was not a big recruit in high school, I took seventh in Pennsylvania one time,” Schuyler said. “But I think college wrestling is a lot different and just because you were good in high school does not mean you are going to be good in college.”
Following his redshirt season, Schuyler finally had the chance to enter the starting lineup and compete in team duals. He spent the season at the 141-pound weight class where he faced off with eventual All-American Randy Cruz. Schuyler was never a full-time starter, but he competed in four duals, winning all of them and three tournaments, even going back and forth on the mat with Cruz during practices throughout the year.
Now, with the start of the new season, Schuyler has a whole new opportunity to peak into the starting lineup full time. This is the chance he has been waiting for, and he has used the past two years to prepare himself to make an impact for the team. Aside from the first two years of preparation, Schuyler spent the entire summer on campus lifting and working on his on-mat skills.
“We would probably have like two workouts a day, we would do a run and a lift and then a workout in the afternoon,” said teammate Scotty Parker, a redshirt sophomore who wrestles at the 133-pound weight class. “Just training, nothing super hard — messing around learning some new technique. We were a lot more serious because we didn’t like the way last year ended. Me and (Schuyler) specifically were going up a weight class, so we wanted to worry about our size, and I think we got enough size on to compete at the weights we are at right now.”
What lies ahead for Schuyler is all in his hands. The 149-pound weight class is his to earn, and if he does earn the spot the opportunity to accomplish his goal is right in front of him.
“I think pretty highly of myself — I’m pretty confident,” Schuyler said. “Last year Randy (Cruz) won All-American, and I was back and forth with him, but I think anyone at (the 141-pound weight class) in the top eight last year could have won a title. I was watching NCAA championships saying I could beat that kid, I can beat that kid.”
Schuyler said he understands the dedication it takes to be a Lehigh wrestler and is honored to be apart of a program with such a strong tradition. Schuyler’s father, Pete, is even one of the All-Americans in Lehigh’s storied program, earning the honor in 1983.
With three years of eligibility in front of Schuyler, it leaves him with three opportunities to bring home All-American and national championship awards.
Schuyler has no intentions of waiting.