As Lucas Davison prepared to start his final run at a high school state wrestling championship, the Chesterton senior sought out a little perspective from someone who knows the road all too well — his brother.
Andrew Davison, a redshirt freshman at Michigan, won the 195-pound title last year, and his sibling wisdom was simple — cherish the journey.
"It's the last time I'm going to experience it," Lucas, unbeaten and top-ranked (per Indiana Mat) at the same weight his brother dominated last year. "I asked him for some words of advice and he said, don't just focus on the end goal or you will skip over everything that comes with it. Take everything slow, a match at a time. Take it seriously, but at the same time, make sure you're enjoying yourself."
Lucas Davison was state runner-up at 182 a year ago, his only loss of the season coming under the lights at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 3-1 to Delta's Jonah Gray. Athletes often find motivation for future success in such moments and while Davison does as well, the Northwestern recruit didn't let himself be consumed by it.
"I definitely think about it," he said. "Yeah, it still burns. It's something I'm still upset about, but a lot of people talk, especially my dad (Keith), that the best thing you can do is learn from it. In my case, I wasn't attacking. I wrestled a little timid. The guy who's aggressive is usually the guy who wins and that proved true. I'm have to be ready to turn the tables."
The wrestling postseason began Saturday, specifically for Davison at the LaPorte Sectional, where he claimed his third championship.
"It's crazy how the season's flown by," he said, "Coach (Chris) Joll every year lays out the season for us. Our first meet is always in Illinois and before you know it we're at (conference) and then it's the (postseason) all in a row. Now we're there. I'm excited for it."
In 41 trips to the mat this season, he has only had to go the distance four times, including twice with third-ranked Thomas Penola of Zionsville and once against Merrillville's No. 2-rated 220 Brandon Streck, when he bumped up a weight. A 3-1 decision with Penola was his closest match.
"I realized I needed to experience six-minute matches more in practice, to blow up my lungs more," Davison said. "Ultimately, I'm pretty confident I can impose my will on guys, but I'm confident if I get in a close match, too. Everybody loves a back and forth, down to the wire match where you're super tired. If you're a competitor, that's what you're in it for. I'm not afraid to get in tough matches."
To that end, Davison has embraced the daily grind of a champion, the sacrifice that separates the good from the elite.
"I don't think many teams train as hard as us," he said. "It's probably one of the best rooms I've been in, in all my four years, how hard we go. I've great drilling partners. It's a great environment. The coaches have passion, energy. They're super involved. They all do a great job preparing us. They make me and the whole team better."
What will make the difference for Davison this time around?
"I'm really confident," he said. "I think I've seen a lot of adversity. I've been through it all. I'm feeling good. I can finally say I believe in myself."