The Brown and White spoke with three men’s wrestling alumni — Darian Cruz, ‘18, Jordan Wood, ‘20, and Cortlandt Schuyler, ‘19 — to reflect on their years at Lehigh and catch up on how they have filled their time post-graduation while dealing with the pandemic.
With four, three and two NCAA wrestling championship qualifying seasons amongst them, respectively, all three had successful careers at Lehigh. Cruz, who won the national title at 125 pounds in 2017, is one of Lehigh’s greatest all-time athletes. Wood, who completed his junior year of eligibility in 2019-2020, plans to return for his final year of eligibility in 2021-2022 after taking 2020-2021 off to train for the U.S. Olympic team.
Q: What are you currently doing?
Darian Cruz: I am competing for Team USA. I am currently third on the USA ladder. With the 2020 Olympics getting pushed back a year, I’m still training and getting ready. Other than that, I am helping out the Lehigh guys as much as I can.
Jordan Wood: I have one more year of eligibility left, so I’ll be coming back to Lehigh next year, but this year I’m taking what they call an “Olympic redshirt.”
Cortlandt Schuyler: I am working for a company called Negotiatus. I started off as a sales development representative there, and I’ve been promoted twice since I started in September.
Q: What is your favorite Lehigh wrestling memory?
DC: My senior year we ended up winning a conference title. I came here as a freshman, and we didn’t bring the trophy home for four years, so my senior year I got to bring it home and that was awesome.
JW: Each of my three years I competed in the EIWA Tournament and we won, which was snapping a long streak of us not winning it.
CS: The Cornell (University) match when I was a senior. I was coming off of an injury. I ended up being the last match, which came down to overtime and ended in a win.
Q: How has your Lehigh wrestling experience helped shape you into the person you are today?
DC: Being a highly sought after recruit, I think I could’ve gone anywhere, and I decided to go to Lehigh strictly because of how important leadership was to them. It wasn’t really so much about success, it was more about if you knew how to be a leader, and, if not, there was someone willing to show you how to be one.
JW: I think wrestling at Lehigh has helped form me into someone that really understands what work ethic is and what it takes to put in the work to get the results that you want.
CS: When I got to Lehigh, the team was all on the same page. The camaraderie on the team was really amazing and everyone was focused on similar goals. We kept each other accountable and were very close, which really set us up for success in the classroom and on the mat.
Q: What has life been like for you during the pandemic?
DC: I got to slow down and spend a lot of time with my family. I’ve got a puppy at home, a fiancée and a baby on the way. A lot of cool interesting stuff that I got to spend more time with.
JW: A lot of it has been to find a way. If I need to train, I’ll go find a way to train. If I need to get money for rent and food, I’ve got to go find a job. Making stuff happen regardless of the circumstances to get the outcome I want.
CS: I was able to catch up with friends from home and spend a lot of time with family. Since I was living with my friends from home, it wasn’t bad at all.
Q: What was your favorite team moment at Lehigh?
DC: It may seem pretty selfish, but I’d say when I won the NCAA title. In the most selfless way I can put it, I was so happy I was able to further the history of Lehigh University having a national champion.
JW: Darian Cruz winning his national title in 2017. When he won in the semi-finals and finals, it just felt like everyone on the team won.
CS: I ended up getting the nod for the Michigan match (in 2017) after not starting the first two duals. We went out and swept the first five weights against the number four team in the nation. We fed off each other’s energy and had so much momentum building after each match. We ended up winning 27-8. It was electric.