In an age when specialization in sports is the norm in city schools, Schenectady High junior Isaiah Earing does things the old-fashioned way.
“There aren’t many kids left who play three varsity sports,” said Schenectady wrestling coach Brian Faulisi of his senior captain, who has also lettered in baseball and football “Especially at a large school, it’s very rare. There are so many kids, and so many kids concentrate on one or two sports. Isaiah’s kind of unique, in that regard.”
Earing barely has time to wind down from football before wrestling season begins. There’s a little more of a break between wrestling and baseball. Once the school baseball season is over, Earing gets to work on his game playing into the summer on a travel baseball team.
“Little League, Belmont Pop Warner, I’ve just always enjoyed playing sports,” said Earing, a big contributor on the defensive side as the Patriots’ football team put together its best back-to-back seasons in program history. “It’s nothing unusual for me.”
Faulisi coached Earing as he was coming through the school’s football program.
“We knew then he was going to be something special in whatever sport he chose,” said Faulisi.
The thing is, Earing never really made a choice.
“Sometimes, it would be nice to get a week or so to relax, but I’ve gotten used to going from one sport to the next,” said Earing, who is filling the 215-pound weigh class for the Patriots’ wrestling team. “I just deal with it. I’ve been doing it for so many years, I know what I have to do.”
Earing, in his third year of varsity wrestling, is one of the most experienced members of the team, which is recovering from hits from graduation and some transfers. Faulisi made Earing a captain, and is glad he did.
“The other guys in the room know he’s not a year-round wrestler like some of them are, but they know he’s going to be fully committed during season,” said Faulisi. “They know he’s got a lot on his plate.
“This year, he’s been helping the younger kids out. It can be a frustrating sport, and he’s been encouraging the younger kids to give it time, to stick with it. He only had 10 or 12 wins his first year. Last year, he had 30 wins.”
“The newer guys will ask me about a certain move when we get a break,” said Earing. “I used to do it when I was younger. I’d go to the seniors and juniors and ask questions. I don’t mind when these guys do it. I can relate to it.”
Baseball (he plays catcher and also pitches) and football were the first sports Earing took up. He didn’t take up wrestling until reaching junior high.
“Coach Faulisi and coach [Howie] Russell had me in football, and the encouraged me to come out for wrestling,” he said.
The one-on-one nature of the sport appealed to the then-seventh grader, “It’s different than football and baseball,” he said. “When you’re out there, its’s just you, you have no teammates to help you out.
“You have to think about everything you do. If you make one mistake, you can lose your match. If you make a mistake in football, you’ve got teammates who can help you out.”
Football has been where Earing has enjoyed the most success. A middle linebacker, he was part of a defense that helped the Patriots get to the Class AA playoff final in 2008 and the semifinals this fall.
“It’s been a great two years. We’ve played well, and the school has really gotten behind us,” Earing said. “When we lost last year, we couldn’t wait for the season to start again. I was in the weight room the next day.”
The football and wrestling seasons nearly overlapped this season, but Earing was there when Faulisi began practice in early November.
“Once I get to the next sport and get through a few practices, it gets easier,” Earing said. “I’m just used to going from one sport to the next.”
“By the time football was over, wrestling practice started the next week,” said Faulisi. “He comes in and he’s a little banged up, but he’s in good shape and ready to go.”
In addition to wanting to help his team win its share of dual meets this season, Earing has set a personal goal this winter.
“I got to the state qualifier last year. This year, Iwant to make it back to the [Glens Falls] Civic Center and place,” he said. “It was great to get there last year, but this year, I want to place.”
Faulisi feels that’s a very reachable goal, despite the fact that Earing will be facing a lot of year-round wrestlers.
“From a wrestling standpoint, I’d like to see him do more in the offseason, but he loves playing baseball,” said the Patriots coach. “He’s very busy with his three sports.
“He’s a very disciplined kid, and he’s a great athlete. He works hard in all three sports.”
Earing sees one drawback in his athletic resume.
“I used to be a fullback back in Pop Warner,” he said. “Then they said I got too big to be a running back.
“I’m hoping maybe to play some tight end, but I’ve got to work on my speed.”
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Categories: High School Sports