Flathead Wrestler Tucker Nadeau Earns Division I Scholarship

182-pound state champion will attend West Virginia University to compete in the Big 12 Conference

By Andy Viano
Flathead High School wrestler Tucker Nadeau capped off an undefeated season by winning the 182-pound Class AA title on Feb. 10. Justin Franz | Flathead Beacon

Tucker Nadeau won every tournament there was to win as a high school senior. Next up: conquering the Big 12 Conference.

Nadeau will formally sign with West Virginia University on May 1 and will compete for first-year Mountaineers coach Tim Flynn at 184 pounds. Nadeau was 48-0 this past season, winning the 182-pound Class AA state championship and leading the Braves to a second straight team title in February. He is the first Flathead wrestler to earn a scholarship with an NCAA Division I program since Brian Ham and Tyler Wells signed with North Dakota State in 2008.

“Flathead has such a strong wrestling tradition the last 20 years or so,” Nadeau said. “Just to join some of those other wrestlers that have gone on to the next level, it feels really cool.”

A standout three-sport athlete in the Flathead Valley, Nadeau was an all-state linebacker for the Braves football team in the fall and is one of the best rugby players in Montana, leading Kalispell’s Black and Blue high school team to back-to-back state titles.

Jeff Thompson, Flathead’s wrestling coach, called Nadeau a “late-bloomer” with significant potential as a wrestler, even after his undefeated season.

“Tucker has a tremendous work ethic and he is just going to keep growing in the sport,” Thompson said in a press release. “Tucker’s potential to be successful in college in through the roof.”

Nadeau chose the Mountaineers over a host of other Division I and II programs, and picked West Virginia both for the whitewater and hiking opportunities afforded to him in the nearby rivers and hills, and for the school’s excellent Spanish program. He plans to major in Spanish education and become a teacher.

Flynn, who coached at Division I Edinboro (Pennsylvania) University prior to West Virginia, also struck a chord with Nadeau.

“He’s just a really down-to-earth guy,” Nadeau said. “He seems really calm, really organized, and I think at West Virginia he’s going to be able to do a lot with the program and help me reach some of my goals.”

Nadeau also had considered playing collegiate rugby, but since most of those teams compete on the club level, the opportunities made available to a Division I wrestler — including nutritional, training and educational support — were too much to pass up.

At Flathead, Nadeau’s senior season included titles at the Tri-State tournament in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the Best of the West in Pasco, Washington, and the Rocky Mountain Classic in Missoula. He has been one of the wrestling team’s captains the last two seasons.

In the classroom, Nadeau has a 4.0 grade point average as a student in Flathead’s rigorous International Baccalaureate program. He scored a 35 out of 36 on the ACT and is a National Merit Scholar.

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