Pine-Richland’s Lukez commits to wrestle for Army
By: Kevin Lohman
Friday, June 21, 2019 | 5:14 PM
Nate Lukez still has one more year to build his status as one of the winningest wrestlers in Pine-Richland history.
But that didn’t stop the rising senior from solidifying his plans beyond high school as he fulfilled a longstanding goal of his by committing to attend, and wrestle at, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Lukez, a two-time captain and three-time letter winner for the Rams, said he considered other service academies and colleges prior to making his decision. Throughout the process, however, West Point stuck out.
“All these little things just made me feel like West Point would be the right place for me. Even without wrestling, I was planning on applying to all of the service academies,” Lukez said.
“I’ve always wanted to serve my country. I’ve always wanted to attend one of the United States’ service academies ever since I was a boy. My dad was a marine infantry officer, and my uncle went to the Naval Academy. I’ve always wanted to attend, so this is like a dream for me.”
Army began showing interest in Lukez after assistant coach Ned Shuck first saw the Rams wrestler grappling at one of his club practices.
Several months later, in May, Lukez was on his way home from one of his team’s practices when he received the official call from Shuck.
“I was coming home when coach Shuck called me and asked me to commit to wrestle at West Point. I just couldn’t believe it,” he said.
“I was kind of in disbelief, I was so excited. It’s like a cherry on top for me, to be able to wrestle at one of the service academies. I loved West Point, and how I got along with the coaches. I committed the next day after talking with my parents.”
Lukez has amassed a 96-24 career mark at Pine-Richland and has been named to the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association all-section team in each of his three seasons.
This passed season, Lukez won the Section 3-AAA title at 138 pounds before going on to take third at the WPIAL championships, qualifying for the PIAA tournament. He also was named to the Academic All-State first team.