Not just another fifth-year story

By Kris Kotarski

“Training, pushing yourself through training-that’s not fun,” says Joe Loucks with a sombre expression. “This year I really had to tailor my time at Baron’s Court because of school and work.”

Sad but true: Loucks is leaving the Dinos. The five-year veteran of varsity wrestling finally has to say goodbye to his teammates, the competition and the road trips.

“I think I’ll miss the people the most,” he reflects. “If I didn’t have training partners or other competitors, I wouldn’t have a sport. I love wrestling. There was so much effort, but it was entirely worth it.”

Loucks was named team captain in his final season and earned the honour through incredible work ethic. He fought back from adversity countless times, most notably a disc injury that forced him to miss over a year of competition.

“He’s always pushing us to work hard,” says CIS gold medallist David Kooperberg, a teammate of Loucks for six years. “I don’t have the same drive he does.

“Most people would say I’m lazy,” adds Kooperberg with a grin. “But I won’t miss how hard he works. That way I can slack off more. Can’t go too hard.”

“Joe took great pride in our team,” says Dinos Head Coach Mitch Ostberg. “He’s a big part of why we have such a good program. He’s a great example of a leader from the commitment perspective.”

Loucks had a rocky career on the mat and didn’t make the CIS championships in his final year. His best results came in 2000/01 when he finished fifth in the country.

“You could tell not going to nationals bothered him,” says Kooperberg. “If it didn’t there’d be something wrong.”

“I should have been able to qualify, but I didn’t come through,” says Loucks. “By the end of the season that totally bummed me out. There was some anxiety I couldn’t let go of.”

Loucks was the first athlete in his weight class to miss the cut-off at the Canada West Championships. That ended his career before he could take his last shot at a CIS medal. However, Loucks takes it all in stride.

“No matter what, I’ll always remember the silly evenings and silly nights that left us watching Hazed and Confused.

“I’ll remember Papi (Hakan Kadir), Baldi (Tony Baldwin) and Rudi (Jeremy Rudeck) singing ‘Amore’ from start to finish at the CIS championship banquet.”

For Loucks, some things are hard to forget.

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