Truckee football: Erik Swalander, Taylor Ludwig to play college ball
Erik Swalander and Taylor Ludwig were never listed among any stat leaders. Yet the duo — and their 475 pounds of muscle and grit — will be as missed as any skill players who suited up for the Wolverines in recent years.
The offensive linemen, who quietly went to work in the trenches for a rebuilding Truckee football team, signed their ceremonial college Letters of Intent in front of a large crowd of students in the school gym on Tuesday.
Swalander is set to play at Division III Chapman University in Orange County, while Ludwig is following in the footsteps of many Truckee alumni before him at Santa Barbara City College.
“I’m definitely proud of both of those guys and their continued work ethic. They’re driven,” said Truckee football coach Josh Ivens. “Without the two of them, we don’t have the same running game. They’re going to be missed a great deal. Guys are really going to have to step up to replace them.”
Swalander, at 6 feet and 235 pounds, leaves Truckee on the heels of an All-League first team selection at offensive guard. He also was voted to the All-League second team at defensive end.
A team captain for the past two years, Swalander boasted athleticism and sheer strength, and was often called upon to bowl through defensemen on pulling assignments. Before the start of his senior season, he set a Truckee record by power cleaning 315 pounds. He currently bench presses 315 pounds and is a member of Truckee’s elite 1,000-pound club, which combines bench press, squat and power clean.
“Erik Swalander is one of the strongest kids to ever come through the school top to bottom,” Ivens said. “He is also a very smart football player and understood what we were asking of him each week. And he was a great leader. Through some hard times he was there for his team and demonstrated great leadership.”
Ludwig, at 6-3 and 240 pounds, was voted to the All-League second team at offensive tackle his senior year. Ivens said Ludwig, who was often called on to clear the edge on running plays, has hit the weight room hard since his senior season and improved his strength significantly. He’s currently 5 pounds away from joining the 1,000-pound club.
Ludwig said he hopes to gain more strength and speed at Santa Barbara City College before transferring to a Division II program.
While excited about the opportunity to move on, both he and Swalander said they will forever miss the longstanding tradition that is Truckee football.
“There’s nothing that can replace Truckee football,” Swalander said. “I’ve put a lot of hard work into this program. And the coaches, with all they’ve done for me, I wish I could find a way to repay them. I love them.”
Added Ludwig: “We’re all a family here. We’ve pretty much had the same team the last four years together. We’re brothers.”