MAKING IT HAPPEN: Tucker Lane
How do you make a wrestling champion from scratch? The Lane family from rural Redvale, Colorado, shares their story
By Matt Shepard
Published: Spring 2002
On a crisp 1988 November day in Delta, Colorado, 5-month-old Tucker Lane met his future. During a break at the wrestling camp he conducted, legend John Smith sat baby Tucker on his lap. John's 1984 Seoul, Korea, Olympic gold medal caught Tucker's eye and eventually found its way into his mouth. One could say that Tucker cut his teeth on Olympic gold!
Tucker Lane was born with the desire to wrestle. He loves it. At the early age of six, he was already competing. His flair and tenacity earned him a 20-0 record for his first-grade year. Over 400 matches later, Tucker has lost only seven matches. This fun-loving 13-year-old has discovered the formula for wrestling perfection: Passion + Dedication + Devoted Family = Success.
To his dad's delight, Tucker's passion for wrestling was evident early on. He fell in love with wrestling and had a natural talent for it right from the start. His dad, Larry Lane, was the same way. Larry wrestled in high school and college (University of Northern Colorado) then went on and wrestled on the All-Army and All-Service teams when he was in the Army. Larry also wrestled professionally for 10 years. Then, 16 years before Tucker started wrestling, Larry started coaching at the high school level.
With Tucker's early talent, his intense passion for wrestling and his dad's expertise, the Lanes seemed fated for a second generation of championship wrestling.
Tucker put his passion into action and went to work. With his dad's help, Tucker came up with a training routine and never misses a workout to this day. He starts the day early and is up at five every morning. By five-thirty he is cranking out the reps in the weight room before making the trip to Naturita Middle School.
Tucker takes his work ethic into the classroom. In seven years of school he has never brought home a grade lower than an "A." Tucker's mom, Gwen, illustrates his dedication to academics: "Two years ago, Tucker won the Reno World Championships and received his trophy at six on Sunday evening. As we were leaving the arena Tucker asked if we would turn the lights on so he could do his homework. Two hours later he said he was finished. After our 800-mile trip back home we told him he could stay home from school and rest. He refused and said he wanted to go to school."
Tucker's greatest asset is his family. His tenacious little brother, Stryker, is always ready to drill, wrestle, or "fly" during high-level throws. Stryker is also a very good wrestler, with 10 state wrestling titles and one national title and has been an All-American several times. Little sister Mollie, a good athlete in her own right, loves gymnastics but is always ready to drill, "fly" or spot in weights. Without Mollie and Stryker, Tucker would be hard-pressed in a lot of workouts.
The Lane kids have a supportive family environment. Living in a rural area, the family lives far from any separate facilities that Tucker would need for training. When Tucker was very young, his dad rebuilt an old shed and turned it into a small practice arena. His parents sold their horse trailer to get money for a nice wrestling mat. They also improvised to get wall mats, throw dummies, throw mats, and a heater to warm the room. Their philosophy is "the kids need these things now, not after they graduate from high school."
A weight room was appropriated in much the same way. Bigger Faster Stronger heard from the Lanes about every other month as they ordered the equipment needed to turn another old rebuilt shed into a weight room. Tucker's parents sold their shotguns, rifles, or whatever it took to get the needed revenue. Tucker's mom even worked the bluegrass festival in Telluride so they could buy bumper plates, deciding that new curtains for the house would have to wait.
To be a good athlete, it is at least as important to have a tough mother as it is a tough father. Gwen gives Tucker and his brother and sister all the support, help, and encouragement they need. She fixes nourishing meals, helps in ways only mothers can, and gives the needed tough love it takes to make all three kids as good as they can be.
Tucker's passion, dedication and devoted family have made him a true champion. Tucker's lifelong record is an amazing 422 wins to only 7 losses. He has won every one of his last 209 matches. He has won 15 state and 8 national titles, including the toughest collegiate-style competition in the nation in Tulsa and the toughest Freestyle and Greco-Roman in the nation in Waterloo, Iowa. But perhaps Tucker's most impressive success of all is his