Chambersburg wrestlers Karl Shindledecker and Tate Nichter find motivation in last year’s district tournament bite
A great opportunity presents itself for Chambersburg wrestlers Karl Shindledecker and Tate Nichter. They aim this weekend to not only continue their efforts to return to the state podium, but also replace forgettable memories with new ones on the rugs of Spring Grove Area High School.
Last season, Shindledecker was a sophomore who had just won a bronze medal at the PIAA wrestling championships, and Nichter was a sixth place state who was aiming for the overall award as a junior. These results – and the expectations of both wrestlers – made it all the more astonishing that neither Shindledecker nor Nichter came out of the District 3 Championship round.
Shindledecker met future state champion Will Betancourt of Manheim Central in the quarterfinal from a 120-pound rack and lost a 5-2 decision. He was fired from the tournament by Andrew Christie of New Oxford with a 5-3 decision in a sudden victory, which suddenly ended a playoff series that had started with high expectations.
That defeat sting was something Shindledecker said he took with him during the offseason. He worked harder and entered his junior year with the idea of focusing on the work he does in training and in games.
“I was just really hurt,” Shindledecker said. “It was really disappointing. It just made me work harder in the season and the offseason and gave me more motivation to push and work harder.
Managing expectations was part of last season’s challenge, which Shindledecker said he avoided most of the time at this point in his junior season. He focused on what he needs to do to be successful without doing more than just winning his next game.
Shindledecker is 16-0 and has just won a Section 3 title, but there is still a lot of work to be done in a new 120-pound bracket with a few other undefeated State qualifiers in Dover’s Mason Leipart (18- 0) and Joshua Hillard of Manheim Township (19-0).
Shindledecker opens with Daniel Boone junior Gavin Richard in Saturday’s quarterfinals. He will stick to his plan and block everything else.
“I’m just trying to put as little pressure on myself as possible,” he said. “It helps me with my nerves, calms me down and helps me fight like I can wrestle.”
Nichter said he needed a solid two weeks to start getting past his bitter end in the Districts.
He lost in his third meeting of the year with Central Dauphin’s Tye Weathersby in the 152-pound quarterfinal, then saw his consolation semifinal with Penn Manor’s Colt Barley pull away from him in a loss of 13-0 which ended his season shortly before the PIAA Tournament.
Nichter said his ability to recover was boosted as he watched his older brother, Luke, pin Lower Dauphin’s Clayton Ulrey in the state final.
“I wasn’t having fun at the end of last year,” Tate Nichter said. “After Luke won the States, that was exactly what I wanted to do and I’ve been working on it ever since. After his victory, it was time to go.
Tate Nichter weighs 172 pounds and is aiming for a tough weight class highlighted by Spring Grove senior Thomas Dressler and McCaskey senior Andrew Vogelbacher.
Dressler handed Nichter the first of his two losses in a duel earlier this season, but the hope for Nichter is that the period of adjusting to his new weight is over and he is struggling to make up for it. some wrongs from last season.
“I haven’t passed it yet,” said Nichter. “It always stings and I can’t wait to put together a strong playoff series here. It took a little while for me to catch up on my pace, but here we are and can’t wait to start this weekend.
The idea of progress is important, Chambersburg coach Matt Mentzer said to make sure the sting is a healthy feeling that moves his wrestlers forward. And from his perspective, much of Nichter and Shindledecker’s wrestling careers – and perhaps their greatest hits to date – are still ahead of them. Nichter is expected to join Luke at Drexel next season, and Shindledecker has high hopes of wrestling in college when the time comes.
“It’s about getting better,” Mentzer said. “As long as you focus on improving, this sting doesn’t last that long. They are just starting their journey. They both want to go to college, Tate is already committed, so they have a lot of steps to go through. They are far from the end.
“As long as they stay focused this way, I feel pretty confident in both of them.”