Its hard to think of many names that are synonymous with West Hancock wrestling, but Jack and Will Lucie are trying to change that. The brothers have emerged as two of the Tri-States' best, having blazed their own path over the last decade, one match at a time.
"My brother and I are the first ones to ever wrestle in our family. We were introduced to it by a couple of friends and both got started around first grade. We loved it at first, and had some struggles when we first started, but we kept working at it and eventually, here we are,"
Now in his junior season, Jack has become a name you don't want to meet in the 126 pound bracket. And his freshman brother Will is very quickly becoming the same at 106. Not surprisingly, though, their biggest opponents are one another.
"If we're going together, we always seem to step it up a notch. If we're drilling, we tend to go live sometimes and the coach will tell us to cool it down and get back to drilling,"
"They're best buddies, but when they go and drill in practice, get out of the way because it might go right through the wall,"
The Titans second-year head coach Jon Minnis hails from a wrestling Mecca of sorts, Iowa City, so he knows this sport. And he'll point out that while they both bring the same intensity to the mat, that's where the similarities end.
"Will is a little bit more hard-nosed than what Jack is, he's a little more of a wildcat. He goes up and he takes that challenge on, whereas Jack is a little bit more grind-it-out, hit that front headlock and work from there,"
Despite the contrast in style, the Titans benefit from both. At the QHS Invitational last weekend, for example, Will made promising progress with an appearance in the 106 finals, while Jack locked up his second-straight title. Add in the dedication from all of their teammates, and suddenly, West Hancock is climbing the ladder.
"We're all a pretty big family, and anytime we can start making some noise at big tournaments like Quincy, it helps give us confidence,"
"We're finally starting to win some dual meets this year and starting to do some damage in the area. Eventually, when I'm gone, everybody will be carrying on this tradition and West Hancock will be a force in Illinois wrestling,"
That's the goal, and its steadily being realized with a big push from Jack and Will. They've come a long way in their quest to the top of the state podium, and the reasons why aren't hard to find.
"We push each other a lot and we're able to have competitions. If we're doing conditioning, we try to beat each other and be the best. Its an ongoing competition that nobody can lose,"
"Yeah we push each other. We're brothers so there will be a little bit of brotherly love in there every now and again, but its great wrestling against him. Of course there will be some friendly rivalry, we go hard but in the end we're buddies and we love each other and that's pretty much it. We're in it for each other,"