It shouldn’t be a surprise that Lakeside’s Brad Sankey loves studying the past and made a model of Omaha Beach on D-Day for his senior project this year.
Except for a second-place finish in a private tournament recently in Atlanta, each time an opponent has stepped on the wrestling mat against Sankey in the 195-pound weight class this year, they were about to become history.
Sankey has come a long way in his wrestling career, living in five states before landing at Lakeside High School his sophomore season. He has a deep understanding of the sport.
“My dad (Albert), he wrestled in college,” said Sankey. “He was a junior college All-American (Grand Rapids Community College), and he wrestled in the Marines and he wrestled in the Army, so he got me into it when I was 5 or 6.”
After suffering a broken hand toward the end of his sophomore year, Sankey advanced to the state tournament in 2012. He lost his initial match, won the second and was eliminated in the third. Assuming he advances past the regionals and sectionals to the state tournament in Macon, Ga., beginning Feb. 14, he will be able to put the knowledge gained from last year to good use.
“Last year, I felt like I was in shock being there,” Sankey said. “I had never been there so it kind of affected my wrestling. This year I know what it is, I know what it’s like, the kind of talent that’s there, so I think I can step it up and really get the title.”
Helping Sankey are the daily battles with his 170-pound co-captain JaVeon Brigham.
“He’s so much quicker than the 195s I’m usually going to wrestle,” said Sankey. “He’s a lot more agile and quick, so if I can wrestle with him and maybe slow him down a little bit, I think I can do a lot better against the bigger 195s.”
Lakeside wrestling coach Brad Freeman likes the way Sankey goes about his business on the mat.
“He played football for us and I didn’t know he could speak until wrestling season when he had to,” Freeman said. “He’s just very humble, and one thing I do appreciate about Brad is if he sees somebody he can help out or tell them a move, he takes on a coaching standpoint.”
His knowledge of the sport is something he hopes will help get him to college and beyond.
“If I can go to college and get some really good coaching, the sky’s the limit,” said Sankey, who would like to wrestle at the Division I level.