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Alconbury High School wrestlers Kyle Lucas, left, Joshua Williamson and Douglas Bagnall take a breather at a recent practice.
Alconbury High School wrestlers Kyle Lucas, left, Joshua Williamson and Douglas Bagnall take a breather at a recent practice. (Bryan Mitchell / S&S)

RAF ALCONBURY — Wrestling coach Rodney Lucas likes his odds to coach a champion.

And his son may get a tattoo to prove it.

After two years at the helm of the Alconbury High School wrestling squad, Lucas is training three top-flight wrestlers who he believes have a legitimate shot of capturing a European title.

And two of the three are underclassmen, including his 15-year-old son, whose training may be rewarded with a bit more than success on the mat this year.

“My dad said I could get a tattoo if I win Europeans,” Kyle Lucas said with a smile.

The coach, for his part, can’t afford to show favorites in a crop of such talent.

“I feel real good about all three of these boys,” said Lucas, a master sergeant in the 423rd Civil Engineer Squadron. “They all work extremely hard for me and all have shown great potential.”

The eldest of the three is junior Douglas Bagnall. The 17-year-old Ohio native holds a 6-0 record at 189 pounds. He has been wrestling seven years and attended the Ohio State University wrestling camp last summer.

He has wrestled fewer matches than his younger counterparts because there aren’t many competitors in his weight class. But, he keeps his eye trained on his goal through strict dieting and disciplined conditioning.

“I just want to be the best at what I do,” Bagnall said. “We all do and we work hard to get there.”

Strength at the other end of the weight spectrum is how Lucas strikes a balanced lineup.

Sophomore Joshua Williamson opened the campaign with a 14-4 record wrestling at 119 pounds.

The 16-year-old South Carolina native has been wrestling for only two years.

“I just felt like doing a sport,” Williamson said nonchalantly in between spars at practice. “My first coach had me come to a wrestling camp and I liked it. I just kept wrestling.”

The coach said he keeps the pressure on his boys.

“They take a lot of crap. I’m hard on them. I’m real hard of them,” Lucas said. “They do whatever I ask and they know when I am not happy.”

What makes the coach unhappy?

When his team members eat junk food, chug soda and don’t give 100 percent in practice.

“This is a grueling sport, and they know that,” Lucas said.

But is he harder on his son than the rest of the team?

Judging by his record, the coach has prepped his son well for the rigors of a grueling season. At 160 pounds, the 15-year-old Pennsylvania native has pounced on opponents on his way to a 12-1 record.

“I’m happy with the start of the season, but I have a long way to go to be a champion,” he said.

Alconbury High School hosts seven teams in its gymnasium on Saturday that will feature all of the United Kingdom schools.

All three will test their mettle against the top grapplers on the island as well as Iceland and Brussels, Belgium, a weekend before the European tournament kicks off at Wiesbaden, Germany, Feb. 17-18.


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