Lovvorn becomes Baker’s first back-to-back wrestling national champion


Justin Toumberlin

Junior Lucas Lovvorn matches up against Missouri Valley’s Dalton Tipton in the 174-pound class at Missouri Valley Dual on Jan. 25. Lovvorn remained undefeated the whole season and became national champion.

Story by Lily Stephens, Multimedia Editor

Junior Lucas Lovvorn won, for the second year in a row, the NAIA wrestling national championship on March 3.

Lovvorn is Baker’s first ever two-time national champion and first undefeated wrestler, with a 38-0 record. Lovvorn was named NWCA NAIA wrestler of the year.

The 174-pound championship match against Lucius Van Rensberg of Life University was described as a gritty win by sudden victory, 8-6.

Lovvorn is excited about his success, but is already prepared to start working towards next year’s goal of another championship.

“Coming into Baker, my goal was three titles and I plan on making that a reality,” Lovvorn said.

While he will need to take time to rest and recover, Lovvorn believes practice does not just occur on the mat.

Lovvorn takes time to observe other athletes of all different ability levels. He coaches wrestling clubs and watches other collegiates compete.

“I think learning different movements and techniques and being able to incorporate them into my wrestling is what gives me an edge over a lot of people who are close-minded and think there is only one right way to get the job done,” Lovvorn said.

Two other Baker Wildcat wrestlers earned All-American status, juniors David Dow and Jacob Smith. It was Dow’s third All-American victory and Smith’s second.

“[Coach Garcia’s] enthusiasm and constant energy bring the room as a whole to an entire new level in terms of competitiveness and willingness and want to learn the sport,” Lovvorn said about his coach.

Garcia is hoping to grow his talent pool this recruiting season to create a team that continues to win and gets closer to a team trophy at the national meet.