Flathead wrestling standout Nadeau signs with West Virginia
It's been a big week for the Flathead High wrestling program in Kalispell. On Monday senior Trae Vasquez announced his commitment to compete on the mats for Cal Poly in college. Tuesday, another Brave made things official as Tucker Nadeau signed his national letter of intent to wrestle for West Virginia University.
The senior prep wrestling season of Nadeau was nothing short of perfect -- a spotless record of 48-0, numerous prestigious tournament titles and a pin in the state finals to win convincingly at 182 pounds -- an unprecedented season, to say the least.
"That was kind of my goal at the beginning of the season," said Nadeau. "I had it on my phone screen saver, to be an undefeated state champion. So it was a little surprising to reach that, but it was also a result of a lot of hard work and a lot of goal-setting too."
"I've been coaching here since 2000," said Flathead wrestling head coach Jeff Thompson. 'If you look at one season, one wrestler that had the best season -- he's that wrestler. I mean going undefeated with our schedule. We all make mistakes. It doesn't matter how good you are, at one moment in time in that sport you get beat, and he just did not get beat this year."
That success changed the college course for Nadeau. A standout athlete in both football and rugby, as well, he finally started to put a light to the idea of college wrestling.
"I was really thinking about playing rugby in college and just playing for a really serious club team," he said. "That was my plan until about a month ago. I liked the facilities a lot there for wrestling and the support for wrestling at West Virginia is tremendous. I also really liked just the area and my program -- the Spanish program there is really strong, so all of that just appealed to me."
"For him to pick wrestling it was one of those moments like 'Yes!' It's so exciting that he picked a sport that I'm so passionate about," said Thompson.
"Very happy that he's found a school with mountains and creeks and rivers and a wrestling team and a rugby team also," added Marc Nadeau, Tucker's father and an assistant coach for the Braves wrestling team. "It just all came together, so things worked out well for him."
Perhaps most impressive is that Nadeau dominates the classroom as much as the mats. The senior has a 4.0 GPA in Flathead's rigorous International Baccalaureate program, and his ACT score of 35 ranks in the top 0.02 percent of the country.
"One of the best, well rounded student athletes that we've had here at Flathead High School," explained Thompson.
"Yeah, it's really hard trying to balance that, getting home late from practice and trying to get your homework done and stuff," said Nadeau. "So my social life has suffered a little bit from that, but just trying to have really good priorities has helped out."
Once at West Virginia, Nadeau plans to major in Spanish education and become a teacher.