By Zach Baker
When Heidelberg wrestler Delian Schneider wakes up each morning, there's a message waiting for him on his cell phone.
The 125-pound Columbian graduate uses the message as an inspiration, and perhaps an eventual destination.
"Every morning, every day I believe I'm going to win a national title," Schneider said. "I have it as a reminder."
The senior has shown he has the chops to make that goal a reality. He advanced to the Division III national meet two seasons ago.
When told of his wrestler's aspirations, coach Ned Shuck wasn't surprised. Since arriving at Heidelberg, he has cultivated a confident attitude for his program.
"He's got his mind right," Shuck said. "He knows what he needs to do and he knows how to do it. We have confidence in him from here on out. But anytime you have a guy who's a returning national qualifier on the team, in the room - people look up to him, they see what he's doing - you need that kind of winning, and that attitude and that expectation."
It seems like an attitude that the whole team has picked up on. Last week, Heidelberg - ranked 22nd in Division III - knocked off No. 10 Mount Union. Two days later, it shut out a short-handed Muskingum squad 53-0.
HU heavyweight Nino Majoy, who picked up a win both nights, said his steady improvement is due to the coaching.
"I came in, and yeah, I was an all right high school wrestler, yada, yada," the sophomore said. "The way (Shuck) has it in the room, and the intensity level he keeps up with us all year - wrestling's a long season, six months - and I think it's crazy, the way he keeps the room."
Shuck said while the team is undefeated in OAC matches and has wrestled well, the season hasn't been entirely smooth. Schneider was injured earlier this season, and a fellow Tiffin native, freshman Calvert graduate Joe Brodman, filled in for him and did well. But the coach said there has been adversity, and the group has responded.
Shuck used the victory over the Purple Raiders - where the Student Princes won seven weight classes - as an example of that.
"If we tuck our tail a little bit, it's completely horrible," Shuck said. "That's the way it is; it's terrible. And I think the guys knew that. There was some sense of urgency."
Look for that sense of urgency again tonight, when Heidelberg travels to Ada to battle with Ohio Northern. Beat the rival Polar Bears, and Heidelberg will have completed a perfect OAC season.
In interviews conducted before the Muskingum match, the wrestlers were confident.
"As far as the team goes, I believe we can win our OAC title," Schneider said. "Not looking ahead of any of our opponents; we still have some tough matches ahead of us. But I definitely believe we can earn the OAC title this year."
Last season, the Student Princes shared the conference crown.
"That's nowhere in the plans now," Majoy said.
He said to win the title outright, 'Berg's going to stick with what's been working.
"Hard work, work hard, grind it out, get better every day," he said. "There's not much to it really."