Directions to success
By Jarann Johnson
If you want to get somewhere you’re going to have to ask for directions. Most of the time it’s hard to decipher the directions or the route provider is wildly inaccurate.
But every now and then someone gives a traveler great directions and provides them with a road map to success. Last week at the Beulah-Hazen wrestling camp, Scott Schiller and Tony Nelson were giving young wrestlers directions to success.
The duo of elite wrestlers spent three days showing wrestlers technique and telling them about their journey as elite-level wrestlers. Both wrestlers have very impressive résumés.
Schiller was a three-time All-American at the University of Minnesota and placed in the top five at nationals three times. Nelson has a slightly better résumé with four All-American selections, three BIG Ten championships and two national titles.
When someone wins two national titles in any sport at the Division 1 level, most are going to think natural talent played a large part. But Nelson said early on he wasn’t born with all the skills he needed to become a Division 1 wrestler.
Nelson said he focused on working hard, staying active, and lifting to turn himself into an elite athlete.
“I grew up learning I had to work hard to separate myself from everyone else because I wasn’t super talented. So I spent a lot of time, when I got to high school, going in early in the morning and lifting and getting the workouts in the afternoon. I was also a three-sport athlete, so I was just very active and I was always trying to do something to make myself better,” Nelson said.
Schiller, a West Fargo graduate, said he focused his time and committed himself to the wrestling craft to become an elite-level wrestler.
“I played football and I wrestled. Football was really my only off-season from wrestling, so just putting in a ton of time – figuring out that’s [wrestling] what I wanted to do and just kept doing it over and over.” Schiller said.
Both used focus and humbly admitted they weren’t the best to convince themselves they needed to work hard. Both also dedicated time to wrestling but, once they got to college, there was another step to success.
Schiller, a three-time top-5 finisher at nationals, said his college career had a very interesting welcome-to-college moment.
“Mine was probably one of the first days of wrestling practice at the U [University of Minnesota]. I remember it was like a 45-minute live-go. Coach just pretty much said warm up. Once we wrestled it was like, all right, 45 minutes to wrestle. I was a stud in high school, and I don’t think I scored one take down for the first few weeks. So just starting off getting my butt kicked every single day, that was kind of from the beginning, and I realized ‘I got a long ways to go still’, ” Schiller said.