The last couple of months have been frustrating ones for Poteau sophomore Luke Brooks. In November as the Pirates successful football season was coming to a close in the state 4A semi-finals, Brooks, at defensive end, fractured his hand requiring surgery. So as a result, after placing fourth in the state wrestling tournament last year as a freshman, Luke has had to sit on the sidelines so far this season and watch his teammates compete while his hand rehabs.
“It’s been really frustrating to have to watch instead of being out on the mat,” said Brooks. “During practice I’ll run or work on the bike and stay in shape and I’m doing a lot of work in the weight room to strengthen my legs and my core.”
The Pirates new wrestling coach, Matt Kennedy, describes Luke as “tough and gritty” which helps make him successful.
Brooks says his parents got him involved in wrestling at a young age as an outlet.
“When I was around four, I was pretty hyper, so my parents got me into wrestling as a way to deal with that and I’ve loved it ever since.”
His role model is a former Pirate wrestler who has also played a part in Luke’s success.
“Growing up I watched Tyler Tustin who was the first freshman from Poteau to ever place at state. This past year I took private lessons from him and that really helped me. I started last year just wanting to qualify for state but as the season progressed and I got bigger and stronger and started taking lessons from Tyler I wanted to do more, and I dropped about 15 pounds during the season so I could wrestle at 182.”
The trip to state also had a measure of revenge mixed in for Luke against Skiatook’s Alex Johnson.
“He had beaten me in the last second at a tournament during the season and then again in double-overtime at regionals, but I was able to beat him in overtime at state which gave me a chance to wrestle for third place.”
Though he’s been able to get stronger in the off-season, this wrestling season is still up in the air for Luke who will be wrestling up at 195 pounds and won’t be able to get back on the mat until late in the season.