While there is no senior season on the mat for Irvington’s Ian Schwam, the defending 145-pound Division 2 sectional champion still can celebrate news that he will continue his education and wrestling career at New York University this fall.
NYU came out on top of a list of interested schools that also included Davidson College in North Carolina, Washington and Lee University in Virginai, Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, and Luther College in Iowa.
“I first visited NYU this past September with my mom. I wasn’t completely sure how I’d like it, being it’s such a unique campus in the middle of downtown New York City,” Schwam said. “But I absolutely loved the atmosphere and could really see myself going to school there. Being close to home, their amazing business program, and feeling like I really connected with coach [Corey] Luce, were all deciding factors.”
Schwam’s interest in wrestling began as a first-grader in a program with the Irvington Recreation Department. By the fifth grade, he was wrestling year-round.
“I love how challenging it is and how it pushes you to the limits constantly,” he said. “There’s always something to work on and improve at, and when you make those improvements you can feel it in your wrestling. The pressure on the individual and the feeling of winning a match or tournament is something you don’t get in a lot of team sports.
“My coach at Irvington, Ben Karol, has been tremendously influential,” Schwam continued. “Karol has been my coach since my first year on varsity in eighth grade, first as the assistant and now as head coach, and has supported me in so many ways.”
Schwam also wrestles out of the Empire Wrestling Academy in Somers and the Apex Wrestling School in Mahwah, N.J.
“Empire Wrestling coach John Degl has been an amazing mentor in terms of both wrestling and with college recruiting. During the spring and summer, John really helped me connect with college coaches and walked me through the steps of the recruiting process.”
Schwam added, “Another person who has influenced me is my club coach at Apex, Alex Karnitski. A lot of my wrestling style and favorite moves have come from him as I’ve worked with him year-round since eighth grade.”
Schwam thinks of himself as a “technical, dynamic, and offensive wrestler.”
“I like taking a lot of shots and taking some chances,” he said. “I find I wrestle best under pressure, especially when it’s a high-paced match.”
Despite his successes on the mat, including a 34-6 record as a junior in 2019-20, Schwam was left wondering if he would wrestle in college.
“I always knew it was a possibility, but it really started to hit me over the summer when the first coach reached out to me,” Schwam said. “I began talking with more schools and then things really started to take shape.”
Schwam plans on majoring in business economics at NYU’s Stern School of Business.
“It’s extremely exciting,” he said. “At the beginning of senior year, I wasn’t really sure of where I wanted to go to college, but now I feel like I’ve definitely found the right fit. I can’t wait to start school there.”