It’s the little things.
Big Spring wrestler Tucker Brough realized that, if he just fine-tuned the little things, he could make his final run one to remember. The senior currently sits with a 22-3 record and picked up his coveted 100th career win against Noah Ezolt of Greencastle-Antrim on Jan. 12, a pin in 1:54.
“My season’s come to a close, and it’s my senior year — it jumped up on me fast, but I’ve been waiting for this,” Brough said. “I’m just fixing all the little things that count and fixing all the little mistakes I had earlier in the season. I’m pumped. I’m just ready to go.”
That eagerness to see what his full potential can be is just a fraction of what motivated Brough to get better and make another run at a gold medal in Hershey. Visiting PowerTrain as much as he can during the week, lifting harder, perfecting his technique, getting faster, getting in better shape — all of this leading to a more focused Brough.
Something his coach sees as well.
“Tucker has improved throughout his career, but this year one of the biggest improvements has been his conditioning and strength,” Bulldogs head coach Nate Gutshall said. “He has worked habitually with Lewis Reese and his staff at PowerTrain, as many of our wrestlers do. This has given him an edge that he didn’t have before.”
That edge may be the factor that pushes Brough that extra step through the individual competitions leading up to states.
Well, that and a bet he made with his dad, Big Spring assistant coach Chad Brough, just a couple of years prior.
“A few years ago we actually made the bet, but he forgot about it this year,” the younger Brough said with a laugh.
The bet was that if Brough managed to medal at states, his dad would bust out the old wrestling shoes and singlet and take the mat at the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Association (MAWAs) later this year in the open division.
The bet has been brought up many times by Tucker, who never fails to remind his dad about it every chance he gets.
“I joke about it all the time — especially when we’re wrestling,” he said. “Sometimes he’ll be panting and out of breath and I’ll be like, ‘Oh, you better get in shape.’”
His son isn’t the only one that jokes about the bet either. Gutshall and staff also get their kicks in.
“The bet has been a lot of fun,” Gutshall said. “We joke about it a lot. It’s great to see them make the father/coach relationship work the way they have this year, and I can’t wait to see Tucker win this bet.”
The confidence Brough has in himself, as well as the confidence in him from those around him, is even more of a motivator to wrestle hard at states. Moving through those brackets may be a tough and grueling task, but with a friend in the same bracket, it gets even tougher.
Longtime friend and rival, Cal Reichart of Cumberland Valley, will be wrestling in the same 145-pound bracket. Reichart and Brough have clashed before, but this year it was different. Brough finally brought Reichart down not once, but twice — first in a 6-3 decision on Dec. 29 and in another 3-0 decision on Jan. 11.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that that is possible at sectionals, and even districts, and even states,” Brough said. “Cal and I have known each other since we were little kids, and we’ve always wrestled, so I’m not going to be surprised if I see him on the other side of the mat at any point in this postseason.”
This run through the individual postseason will be the last for Brough, and in his own words, he’s planning to “leave it all on the mat.” After all of this, and depending on if he plans to wrestle in college, a well-deserved break for the wrestler is in the future.
“It’s bittersweet. I’ll be happy to eat after wrestling season, but I can already tell I’m going to miss it,” Brough said. “Wrestling is such a big part of my life — it’s not really a sport anymore, it’s a lifestyle. Making that change is going to be so dramatic for me.”
The best part of not having to focus on a season of wrestling? Eating. Whatever. You. Want.
“Yeah, I’m definitely going to enjoy it for a while,” Brough said. “Late-night snacks and whatever I can get my hands on.”