An on-going series at Victory Bell Rings which details all of the wrestlers on the Penn State roster for 2022-2023
This continuing series is a bit different than what I normally post on Victory Bell Rings about Penn State wrestling.
And for a lot of people, I’m sure they’re thinking “Thank goodness, this Chris guy is slightly more entertaining than a broken tv.”
I’ll take whatever compliments I can get.
Through the hard work of a wonderful Penn State wrestling fan, Jessi Lillo, and myself, we have put together profiles for all of the guys on the team for this year. But what’s different is that we will focus a little bit on wrestling, and a lot about who these hard working, amazing wrestlers are off the mat, how they grew the love for wrestling, and how their lives were shaped prior wrestling for the Nittany Lions.
"“Penn State recruiting is successful not just because they win, but because every member of the team and staff is also a great person. The people make the program successful” -Baylor Shunk"
And away we go!
Major: Division of Undergraduate Studies
Hometown: Fayetteville, Pa.
Penn State Career
Shindledecker first stepped foot on campus this past year, so unfortunately, he hasn’t had much time on the mat donning a blue and white singlet.
Karl was able to participate in the Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open, the Black Knight Invite, and he got the nod in place of Roman Bravo-Young at 133 in the dual against Lehigh.
Shindledecker has been incredibly tough in the handful of matches he’s competed. And nothing is more evident of that than when bumped up a weight class and gave Lehigh’s No. 6 ranked Connor McGonagle all he could handle in the dual in the Stabler Arena.
Prior to Penn State
Karl’s high school wrestling days were spent in the south-central portion of Pennsylvania as he was a four-year start and letter winner at Chambersburg High School. While competing for the Trojans, Shindledecker amassed an overall record of 103-26 and competed in weight classes ranging from 113 to 138. He was a Pennsylvania state place finisher three of the seasons with a third place finish his freshman year and a second place finish his junior season. And it should be no surprise to anyone, based on Shindledecker’s presence on and off the mat, that he was voted team captain of the Trojans.
For Shindledecker, wrestling has been a large part of his life growing up. And a lot of his success can be directly attributed to his parents, John and Tiffany.
Karl’s father, John, was his coach and his biggest fan from the very first day he hit the wrestling mat. According to John, “He was a pretty good wrestler from the beginning, long and lanky, very funky style, he was a hard match up for opposing coaches to deal with. Karl’s bread and butter was always neutral. Because of his long arms and legs, his left leg being lead, and his funky style. Karl frustrates opponents.”
Has anyone hear ever heard of the “Karlson”? Well here’s the awesome backstory.
"“Throughout elementary and middle school, Karl had a move he would hit on almost everyone in every match, it was a weird funky reverse cradle. And that boy would hit that move from the weirdest positions and pin almost everyone. He would have to reach back from bottom position, which is usually a no-no. New coaches that were not familiar with him would always yell for him to stop reaching back, and after he hit the move, everyone was confused even the refs at times. Very unorthodox and after a while the move was dubbed the “Karlson”. Even after kids caught on to it he would somehow end up getting it in the end.” -John Shindledecker"
In between school, homework, and school wrestling practices, Karl was also a part of a small wrestling club in Mercersburg (PA) call TYW. Thanks in large part to suggestions from Koran Dunbar and John Brooks.
John further explained, “Karl flourished in that room. Crazy that Penn State currently has three kids on the Team from that club, (Aaron) Brooks, (Aurelius) Dunbar, and Karl. That club built kids with exceptional mental and physical toughness above and beyond most clubs, it was known that you definitely didn’t wanna go into deep water (overtime) with a TYW kid because you were gonna lose.”
“Karl’s a neat kid, huge heart, always very kind to everyone and always a leader and never a follower.”
But wrestling wasn’t always Karl’s passion as he also played baseball and football from a young age. Although Shindledecker’s days roaming the diamond were short lived (two years), he ended up playing football up until 8th grade. John saw some great things on the gridiron as well, “He was really good. He was fast and very elusive and played quarterback and free safety.”
And it doesn’t stop with sports either. Karl is an avid guitar player and he also enjoys fishing. Shindledecker used to also be a huge gamer and his claim to fame in the gaming world came the day he beat a famous gamer who had over a million followers.
Karl was also very independent and hard working from a young age. “When he was around 9 he started a lawn care business.”, John continued, “He mowed and weed whacked in the neighborhood, had business cards, a website, and a dedicated google voice phone number. He’s very entrepreneurial.”.
Unbeknownst to his parents, Karl and his friends planned a massive celebration when they graduated from elementary school. “They put their money together and got a limo to pick them up after school on the last day. We had no idea. He asked for money for something special for school and that we would find out that day. It definitely was a surprise.”
Shindledecker also has two older sisters, an older brother, and a four-legged, Hairless Shepherd best friend by the name of Zeus.