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MOVILLE, Iowa | Carter Schultzen has quickly learned to enjoy the nights at home when he isn't doing anything.

There haven't been many.

The Woodbury Central senior has taken on the ambitious challenge of playing basketball for the Wildcats while also wrestling for the Woodbury Central wrestling team this winter.

"I have been wanting to wrestle every year of high school so far, and I guess I just have played basketball my whole life and I didn't want to discontinue playing that," said Schultzen of the decision. "I had been going to open mats but this year the (wrestling) team really wanted me to help them out and I decided why not.

"After waking up at 5:30 every morning it starts to become habit. I just like to take weekends off and I haven't really hung out with my friends this season. I am never going to have a chance to do anything like this again."

So Schultzen's day begins with early morning wrestling practice followed by a day of school and basketball practice after the final bell. A demanding schedule even for a motivated 17-year-old.

"It is a lot harder on the body but I am in the best shape I have ever been in," he said. "It was more difficult at the beginning of the season when I had to cut down to 126 (pounds), but after Christmas and we got the two-pound allowance it hasn't been too hard."

Schultzen said he has to adjust his diet adding healthier options and forgoing "Pop-Tarts and pancakes in the morning."

Basketball games take priority for Schultzen -- a three-year varsity member -- each week where he is averaging 6.6 points per game and leads the team with 33 steals. When games haven't conflicted with duals or tournaments the Wildcats' 126-pounder has put up a 7-7 varsity mark.

"We actually pursued Kurt Countryman because I think he would have been a nice heavyweight wrestler," Woodbury Central wrestling coach Jake Thomas said. "We kind of put the parameters in place for him and that ended up not working out, but when Carter did it we had the rules in place and went that route."

Thomas said he got the idea to approach athletes about doubling up during the winter season after Westood's Sean Westergaard did the same thing last season.

Schultzen said he has had to learn to deal with some extra soreness in his arms and legs this season as he transitions from one sport to the other on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis. He said the physicality will help him as he considers his future which may include military service.

It is a credit to Woodbury Central head basketball coach Trevor Alfredson and Thomas working together when all too often coaches can tend to be very protective of their athletes when it comes to other sports.

"I know Coach Alfredson had some concerns as well, but I will give him credit as well because if he wanted to put a stop to it I am sure he probably could have," Thomas said. "We found something that worked and hopefully it has been a great experience for Carter."

His success on the mat is impressive given his limited experience.

"I wrestled in seventh grade," Schultzen said. "I was kind of nervous because going out it is really new for me everything I have been doing this year and so my wrestling technique this year is just doing whatever. It is hard to learn everything in one season and take it out on the mat."

Thomas said his effort has helped the Wildcats.

"Ida Grove, for one, we probably don't win that dual that night if he is not there," Thomas said. "We had some other issues going on but he stepped up big for us and was there that night and got a pin."

Thomas credits Schultzen for being able to perform at the varsity level in two sports.

"Physical aspect is one thing but dealing with kids in high school and different kids pulling in different directions not everybody is so open-minded about it," he said. "I think he deals with a lot of that we probably never see. I try to appreciate that but I don't know that I can because I haven't been in that situation, but I think that kid deserves a lot of credit for putting it on himself to make it work."

Schultzen is expected to be in the lineup Saturday when the Wildcats travel to Mapleton for the sectional tournament.

"It is going to be the same teams as our conference tournament except take out OA-BCIG and add Hinton," he said. "I ended up getting second in our conference tournament so I am looking forward to wrestling that kid again and get another shot at it."

West Monona's E.J. Hildreth has beaten Schultzen twice this season. The first came by pin before the conference final was a 9-6 decision in favor of the Spartan. The top two wrestlers in each weight class advance to the district tournament a week from Saturday.


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