Schlauch becomes second lieutenant
Washougal native graduates from the United States Military Academy
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
One of the toughest things Kyle Schlauch ever did in his life was step into the jungle and wrestle for the Washougal Panthers.
“I had a rough start as a freshman, but my coaches told me to never hang my head and never give up,” said the 2008 Washougal High School graduate. “I never encountered anything harder than I did in that wrestling room. It was all about pushing yourself farther than you thought you could go.”
Lessons the 22-year-old learned as a Washougal wrestler gave him the courage apply to the United States Military Academy, and leave family and friends for West Point, N.Y., after high school. It also invigorated him with tenacity and determination to overcome any obstacle that stood in his way.
“Never discount that anything is impossible,” Schlauch said. “I knew the odds of getting into West Point were slim, but I was going to try for it anyway. If so many people could do it, I could do it too. Never count yourself out.”
Several mentors kept Schlauch on the right path during his time at West Point. One of them was LTC Hector Morales, the head coach of the academy’s Judo team. Schlauch captured a gold medal in 2010 and a bronze medal in 2011 from the Collegiate National Judo Championships. He also helped West Point become three-time National Champions.
“Judo is so different than wrestling. The only same thing was the aggressiveness I always had,” Schlauch said. “In wrestling, you get more times to take the guy down. But in Judo, you only get one shot. It’s about patience.You have to wait a long time for that perfect shot. Once you see an opening, you have to hit the shot without hesitation.”