Max Schneider is a three-time Illinois State Finals placer and two time wrestling champion. He was ranked No. 3 in the nation at the 152-pound weight class when he graduated from Lane Tech College Prep High School in 2012, and was the first Chicago Public League wrestler in more than six decades to win multiple state titles.
Born in California, Schneider decided to return to his home state for college and was red-shirted by the California Polytechnic State University Mustangs. During his first official season as a Mustang, Schneider began with an 8–0 record and took first place at the Road Runner Open Nov. 17, 2013. He did not have a blemish on his record until the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational tournament, Dec. 6–7, where he lost to the University of Michigan’s No. 16 Brian Murphy.
Schneider told The Chronicle he decided that Cal Poly’s coaching staff was not the right fit for him and he is now looking to transfer to a different university.
The Chronicle spoke to Schneider about why he left the Mustangs, what he’s looking for in a coaching staff and the process of transferring schools.
THE CHRONICLE: How has the transition been since moving to California?
MAX SCHNEIDER: The transition has been hard. It’s definitely further away from home than I would like. I’m transferring schools. I’m leaving [because of] disagreements with the head coach. The wrestling was fine, it’s just a really touchy subject. I wasn’t learning.
CC: Where are you hoping to transfer?
MS: I have a recruiting trip set up to [Pennsylvania State University] the first weekend of April. [I’m also looking at] North Carolina, [the University of Missouri], possibly Lehigh [University].
CC: How does collegiate wrestling differ from the high school level?
MS: I don’t think it’s really that different. People who make it out to be different [from high school] are just kind of.… Yes, it is definitely a step up in competition and the quality of opponents, but you face quality opponents in high school, too. For your skill level then, they were quality opponents. Ultimately it’s just going out there and still having fun and going for it.
CC: Were you scratched from wrestling recently because of the disagreement with the head coach?
MS: No, I had sustained an injury during a match. I tore my hamstring, but I actually just got cleared [Jan. 30].
CC: How long ago did you tear your hamstring?
MS: Seven weeks ago. There’s a wrestling tournament [called] the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas. It happened the second day, [Dec. 7].
CC: What are you looking for in the universities to which you’d like to transfer?
MS: Ultimately I’m looking for a really knowledgeable coaching staff— coaches I can really learn from. I really respect coaches who still step on the mat and will roll and beat the s--t out of me.
CC: Are you leaving the university before the semester ends?
MS: I’m finishing off my quarter here and then I’m heading back to Chicago for some training.
CC: Where are you going to train? Any main gym that you use or are you going to train at home with your dad?
MS: All around. Everywhere. I’m probably going to go see my personal trainer a bit, probably going to do a bunch of judo; I’m probably going to probably hit up Izzy Style [Wrestling].