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CHS wrestling legend Jake Schwartz reflects on memorable career

Jake Schwartz has been one of the most successful athletes in the history of Carlinville High School wrestling. He reached state three times, made it to the ‘Elite Eight’ as a senior, won 127 career matches and nearly became the first Cavalier since John Wynn (1985) to receive an IHSA medal. Photo contributed.

“I will always have Cavalier wrestling in my roots”

Enquirer Democrat Reporter

Carlinville High School captain Jake Schwartz started wrestling in kindergarten and the rest was history.

Ever since he attended his first practice, 14 years ago, the sport has been part of the senior’s life. Although Schwartz is hanging up the shoes after graduation, he never plans on removing the activity from his life altogether.

“I will always have Cavalier wrestling in my roots,” Schwartz said. “I hope to someday make an impact in this community as a coach and as a leader.”

Schwartz has solidified a legacy of being one of the greatest and most successful CHS athletes of all-time. Wrestling was his finest shining moment.

Despite having to miss his entire sophomore season due to injury, Schwartz accomplished the rare feat of surpassing 100 career victories and concluded with 127 overall. In addition, he qualified for state each season he was on the mat and made it all the way to the ‘Elite Eight’ on his last ride to Champaign.

Wrestling has been a major passion of Jake Schwartz from a young age. Photo contributed.

Schwartz fell short of his ultimate goal in becoming the first Cavalier to earn a state medal since John Wynn in 1985, but he was still satisfied in passing through uncharted waters he had failed to reach during his first two quests.

“Making it to that point was better for me than being knocked out sooner,” Schwartz said. “Although the goal is to bring home hardware I had to settle for the next best thing.”

Schwartz is the new school record-holder for single-season triumphs. Schwartz surpassed Tristen Burns’ 40-win mark and set a new yield of 46 as a junior, then added 42 more wins in 2022-23.

“It’s good to know that I have set some records but I also came short of a few,” Schwartz said. “Some of that could be due to missing my sophmore year but, all in all, I can’t complain. There’s been lots of great guys compete in the Carlinville singlet before me and hopefully there is more to come. Hopefully one day there’s new names in every section of the record book.”

Schwartz’s dedication and love for the sport captured the hearts of a super-supportive community. In addition to him assisting with laying a foundation for the future, many mini Cavaliers from the Carlinville Wrestling Club are striving to follow in Schwartz’s footsteps. There has also been an increase of numbers within the high school program as well.

“I am glad to be some sort of role model and be able to make a good impact,” Schwartz said. “Even though I will be gone, hopefully some younger guys can step up and be great leaders.”

To showcase appreciation, a send-off was organized for Schwartz on the Carlinville square as he departed for state. Though he had already experienced something like that as a football player on road playoff gamedays, the individual sense hit different.

The community of Carlinville would always gather on the town square to help send Jake Schwartz off to state. Photo contributed.

“That was really a great experience all around,” Schwartz said. “Seeing my friends, family, teammates and supporters gather for me is humbling and makes me proud to be a Cavie. I couldn’t have done everything without my community.”

Schwartz also credited first-year head coach Shane Michaelis for his work in sustaining the sport of wrestling after he was faced with the tough assignment of filling a void left by a resigning Robert Scott. Schwartz additionally was grateful due to the face that he was able to wrestle with one of his former teammates supporting him as an assistant. That individual was Chase Michaelis, who also broke the 100-win barrier as a senior two years ago.

“[Shane and Chase] stepped up this year when they didn’t have to,” Schwartz said. “Everything they did for me, I have nothing but respect for. It was awesome to have them both in my corner this year. They helped keep everything alive and will hopefully continue to build the program at the high school level.”

Schwartz is embracing, not just the memories, but the role wrestling played in his personal development.

“This sport has led me to make friends all over the country and state,” Schwartz said. “I’ve met some of my best friends and mentors through the sport. As a man, it taught me a lot. Discipline is a big thing in wrestling I will never forget. I’ve learned to love my team from football but wrestling is just as much of a contributor to teamwork.”

Schwartz’s future plans are to play baseball in the spring, then attend the University of Missouri (Mizzou) at Columbia to study pre-law in the fall.