EDDYVILLE — Tucker Black is a bit of an anomaly; a paragon of stability during those turbulent high school years.
"The biggest thing Tucker has is his ability to block out things that don't contribute to his success in his life," Eddyville Blakesburg Fremont wrestling coach Brett Little said.
At an age where a lot of young people are amenable to impulsive decision-making, Black, who's older sister Megan is the only female to place at the state wrestling meet; is a rock of self-discipline: He eats right, sleeps right and gets good grades.
"He does a pretty good job of keeping things in life simple," Little said. "If he knows he's wrestling Saturday morning, he's asleep at 9 p.m."
And, Black's anti-zeitgeist-y behavior has served him well on the wrestling mat. Indeed, it has served him so well that, despite being hindered by injuries his freshman and sophomore years, the senior wrestler recently registered his 100th victory. He accomplished this feat at the Bobcat "Jerry Eckenrod" Invitational in Benton.
Black needed two wins to reach 100 going into the event, and he got exactly that. He reached 100 after he recorded a pin over Michael Neal of Vinton Shellsburg in 4:50 at 152 pounds.
"I tried not to think about it too much," Black said. "I was out most of my freshman and sophomore year due to injuries. Naturally, I expect more out of myself, to even get it sooner than that."
Still, Black said he was happy to reach the special mark.
"Yea, it's nice to get it," he said.
Little said one important intangible that helps Black is the surplus of effort he brings to practice every day.
"He just works his butt off," Little said.
Black also is aided by how he approaches each match.
"If he's wrestling the worst person at 152," Little said, "or who someone he perceives is the best wrestler at 152, he approaches the matches the same."
Black's main goal for the rest of the season can be summed up in two words: state champion.
"That's been the goal from day one," Black said. "For 12 months out of the year that's what I've worked for and that's definitely how I want to finish out my senior year."
"The way Tuckers' mind works, besides academics, wrestling is first and everything else in his life is second," Little said.
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