GREEN TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Lucas Byrd wanted to cry after his realizing a dream Friday at the University of Akron. But the tears didn’t well up right away.
Instead, his mother, Myra, assumed plenty of the tears; her raw emotion prevented her from speaking right away.
It was understandable.
Lucas Byrd, the La Salle rising junior, rallied to win two matches at 50 kilograms (110 pounds) and qualified for the Cadet Greco World Wrestling Team.
— Barrett Cohen (@Barrett_Cohen) June 3, 2017
Byrd will represent the United States in Athens, Greece from Sept. 1-9. This fall will be the first time he will board a plane. And what a week it will be.
“It’s my dream to be on the world team,” Byrd said Monday. “It was a proud moment for me.”
Byrd, 16, received plenty of congratulatory messages on Instagram and checked plenty of Twitter notifications this past weekend. Family and friends continued to urge him to continue training well this summer.
“I think it’s still kind of sinking in,” said his father, Jeff Byrd. “He is really good at Greco style and he’s really embraced it.”
Byrd, who lives in Colerain Township, also embraces the role model concept at La Salle and wants other younger wrestlers to aspire to their dreams too.
“Lucas may wrestle at 110 (pounds) but he’s larger than life,” La Salle Athletic Director Keith Pantling said. “He has a ‘heavyweight’ personality. He’s extremely hardworking and always remains optimistic.”
Lucas told his father last October he would qualify for the world team. There was never any doubt from Byrd’s family.
“I couldn’t be more proud of what he’s accomplished,” said his brother, Max Byrd, a 2012 La Salle graduate and two-time state finalist. “I didn’t even have the words to put it into perspective after all the work he’s put in the past three or four years.”
Jeff Byrd said the family is in the process of raising the $3,000 through a GoFundMe account for sending Lucas to Greece this fall. Jeff said the investment to travel to places like Fargo, North Dakota the past two summers is well worth it.
Lucas will travel to Tulsa June 19 for Junior National Freestyle Duals and also spend time in Akron training too this summer.
“I think he is just a fierce competitor,” said his father, Jeff Byrd. “You have to be focused in what you do.”
Lucas Byrd has been a La Salle standout during the winter the past two seasons.
As a sophomore, he was third at the Division I state meet in the 106-pound weight class. He finished the season with a 50-2 record.
Byrd was 35-10 and seventh at state at 106 pounds as a freshman.
Whether on the mat or in the classroom, Byrd brings a significant amount of energy to those around him at La Salle.
Those who know him say that vigor is contagious. Qualifying for the world team is yet another milestone.
“He has very lofty expectations and goals and I have no doubt in my mind he’ll accomplish them,” Pantling said. “This is step one right here.”