Highline wrestling a Wooding tradition

By Donnie Moore - Staff Reporter

When Tucker Wooding came to wrestle at Highline he already knew his way round the mats.Wooding comes from a long line of wrestlers that starts with his grandfather, Dick Wooding, who in 1966, was recruited to be the first wrestling coach at the then Highline Community College. Dick Wooding went on to grow the Highline wrestling program into one of the most competitive programs in the state. 

This dominance came to an end in 1979 when he left due to Highline dropping the wrestling program because of a lack of competition.

In 1981, Dr. Shirley Gordon, then Highline president, told the athletic director at the time that she missed not having a wrestling team and requested he call the elder Wooding about resurrecting their wrestling program. 

He did after securing funding.  "We live very close [to my grandfather] and ever since I was young I just knew that wrestling was a big part of our family," Tucker said.  

Introduced at a very young age, Tucker had plenty of develop his wrestling skills."My dad introduced it to me when I was younger, when I was like 5 or 6. My brother was older, so I would watch him. I was interested in it, but I did not like it much when I was younger," Tucker said.

Dick and his wife Lorna, have three adult sons: Tom, Tim and Mike. Each wrestled and served as coaches in the Sumner School District. Dick's grandsons, Tyler, Zack and Tucker, also wrestled, constituting three generations of wrestling in the Wooding family. 

But for Tucker it hasn't always been a life-long love affair. 

 "I took a couple of years off, then got back into it and that's when I started loving it," Tucker said. "Watching my brother take second in state and go wrestle at Highline, that got me more interested in it. And just knowing my family's history with wrestling. I have always been a big fan of wrestling."

With such a legacy behind your name, someone could feel pressure to perform and have great results in order to live up to the family image.

"When I was in high school I definitely felt that pressure. [It was] unnecessary pressure because I did not feel pressure from [my family], it was a pressure I put on myself," Tucker said. "I dealt with that until I was a senior in high school. Then I realized it really didn't matter and I would go and do my own thing and that is when I started doing better." Tucker's push to come to Highline also was not always there, but the love of wrestling and knowing the program put him here.   "I took a year off after high school because I was not sure I wanted to go to school or wrestle but I kind of missed it a lot so I came back." Tucker said. "Definitely having my grandfather be a part of it, helped me come here, but I did it for myself. I have been connected with Highline for a while because I have known Coach [Scott] Norton and Coach [Brad] Luvaas since I was a little kid, so I always wanted to come here and I finally decided to." In middle school Tucker showed that he and his grandfather had more in common than not. In 2010, as a 7th grader attending Lake Tapps Middle School, he wrote a letter to the principal pointing out why they should have a wrestling team and later made a presentation to the school board. 

The result: a new team, two new mats and the hiring his brother to be head coach with his dad, Tim, as assistant. They still hold those positions. 

Tucker wrestled in the West Region Championships this last weekend for Highline. He did well at 141, but lost to his Clackamas opponent in the championship bracket. But he came back to best his SW Oregon opponent, to take third in the tournament.  

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