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April 14, 2008
By Patrick McDonnell
It was exactly 8:05 p.m., amid the loud plastic bangers cheering sticks in the crowded Reno Ballroom, when David Schacter learned that April 12, 2008, would be an historic day in University of Nevada athletics.
At that moment, the 21-year-old senior from Las Vegas became the first four-time national collegiate boxing champion in Wolf Pack annals — a history in the sport that is 80 years and running. Going back-to-back-to-back-to-back seemed like nothing unusual, though, for the 132-pound champion, who outpointed Lock Haven’s Addy Pizarro in the National Collegiate Boxing Championship final. But the chants of “One more year” from enthusiastic Nevada fans belied Schacter’s always-steady display of poise, and even he shed some tears when he was embraced by Wolf Pack coaches Mike Martino and Pat Schellin after the team’s victorious decision.
“He did everything right,” said Greg Rice, Nevada assistant coach, after congratulating Schacter under the west stands. “I’m so happy for him. He did everything right.”
Coming through to make history meant that Schacter had to overtake a fighter who had stopped him on one punch Nov. 19 at the New York Athletic Club. This time, as the University international business major stated, he “didn’t get hit with too much.”
The possibility of taking more punishment must have crossed Schacter’s mind though, as Pizarro had knocked him down one minute into the earlier bout, a fight stopped by the referee. The Nevada boxer had been in a car accident shortly before the bout and may have suffered a concussion, although an MRI was negative.
“The only reason I lost was the accident,” Schacter said.
This time, he had his revenge.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” Schacter emphasized. “I talked strategy with Joey Gilbert (a three-time Nevada collegiate national champion with Clifford Raymond, Efren Mendoza and Lawrence Tam). “I wanted to keep my left hand high, circle to the right and stay away from his power hand. It’s a six-minute sprint.”
“He’s a very disciplined and strong-willed person,” said Martino, who watched as not only Schacter, but fellow Nevada boxers senior Thomas Gennaro (147 pounds) and sophomore Ryan Kotey (156) won national titles.
At 132, Pizarro was aggressive at the onset of the fight, but was wild with his right hand. The Lock Haven boxer landed a good straight right in the middle of the first round, but when he tried to attack again, Schacter ducked adeptly and Pizarro slipped to the canvas.
In the second round, Schacter’s right jab was effective, and heading into the third round it appeared either boxer could win the decision.
The Wolf Pack boxer found the jab to be his best weapon again in the third round, and then he gamely countered Pizarro punches with the right hand as the bout wound down.
The consistent in-ring success Schacter found at Nevada has paralleled his unique academic and nonathletic accomplishments. Martino said the College of Business student had a real estate license in Las Vegas at age 18.
He has taken full advantage of University Studies Abroad Consortium programs while a Nevada student, traveling to Costa Rica as a sophomore to study at the consortium’s Puntarenas campus. After four months as a student in Central America, he spent a semester in Thailand.
“I got to travel around a lot,” said Schacter, who turns 22 on April 28. “It was easier making local friends in Thailand, because the school was integrated with local students.”
Understanding that Thailand is 95 percent Buddhist provided an interesting mindset for him, Schacter said, and gave the student-athlete a greater appreciation for the local culture while further intriguing him about the Far East.
“The plan is to study in China (at the USAC Chengdu campus) next year,” he said. He’ll take some language courses in the Fall 2008 semester and likely wrap up his academic work in the dynamic business environment of Shanghai.
Schacter, who developed his love of travel from his parents, said he plans to stay in China after he graduates in May 2009. A prospective gaming-related internship in the Chinese administrative region of Macau should keep him busy at the end of next year.
“I’ve learned a lot of life lessons,” the Green Valley High School (Henderson, Nev.) graduate said. For example, while taking international finance in Thailand, he had to decide which currency converted more favorably in Singapore — the baht, the Thai monetary unit, or the U.S. dollar.
“Currency is really important,” Schacter said.
“He loves to experience other cultures and learn as much as he can,” said Martino. “The experiences he’s brought back have influenced his decision-making.”
Army won its first team title in program history at nationals. Navy was second and Nevada placed third, with 175-pounder Kenny Dyer-Redner narrowly missing out as a fourth Wolf Pack title-holder.
The National Collegiate Boxing Championships will air on CBS College Sports Network on Monday, May 26 at 5 p.m. Pacific Time.