Jacob Tucker’s tenacity and maturity have earned him a No. 5 ranking in the state of Illinois as a prep wrestler.
The Lowell resident travels to Chicago by shuttle bus each weekday to attend Mount Carmel High School, often putting in 15-hour days.
“The first time I visited the school I knew that it was the place for me. The alumni look out for one another and once you graduate from Mt. Carmel, you are in a unique fraternity,” Tucker, 16, said of the all-male Catholic prep school known for its strong athletic and academic programs.
Tucker believes the school’s combination of athletics and academics will benefit him in the future.
“A high school’s athletic record is important, but even more important is my preparation for college. My (wrestling) coach, John Kading, is a former NCAA D-1 national champion and is probably one of the best coaches in the country.”
“He is preparing me for the next level and I know Illinois is one of the toughest wrestling states in the country,” Tucker added.
The son of Shane and Kimberly Tucker, of Lowell, the teen has been wrestling since 5 and received Mount Carmel’s Most Outstanding Freshman Award.
“I enjoy the one-on-one competition. There is no politics or coaching favoritism in wrestling, it’s only you out there and there is no one else to blame.”
“I understand that I have to keep working hard to achieve my goals. The wrestlers ahead of me are all older and some have awesome national credentials, but I am right there in the mix and that’s exciting,” he added.
Tucker plans to obtain a law degree, and is currently considering colleges. He is a member of St. Edward Church in Lowell, where he is active in the youth group.