• Bill Caine, Woodford Sun Sports Editor

Tylan Tucker receives Michael Jackson Scholarship

The annual Michael Jackson Wrestling Scholarship was awarded to Tylan Tucker at a ceremony held at the Woodford County High School library July 19. The scholarship is awarded each year to the student-athlete who best exemplifies the qualities that Michael possessed on the mat and in the classroom.

Jackson was killed in a car accident on Dec. 15, 2002. His family created the scholarship to honor his legacy as the hardest worker in the wrestling room and terrific sportsmanship. He was a superstar on the mat for Woodford County from 1996 to 2000 and won a state championship in the 135-pound division his senior year with an undefeated 54-0 record, and was part of three state championships. During his senior year, Jackson wasnamed team captain based on his work ethic and leadership. Michael also played football for the Jackets and played tailback and linebacker. "Michael was one of those kids that just worked as hard as he could to be great," said Michael Jackson Scholarship board member Randy Cotton. "He knew that work and determination was the only way to be a champion in a sport like wrestling. We look at these things carefully when considering applicants. Tylan is a hard worker and a bright young man. We are fortunate to continue the wrestling traditions in this town. Many young men have found that hard work and believing in themselves will make them a better man. That is what WCHS wrestling coach Rusty (Parks) teaches his young men in the wrestling room." "Having Tylan as part of the youth wrestling program, we always came to the WCI in December to watch the high schoolers wrestle," said Tylan's father, Robert Tucker. "I remember Michael's parents coming and talking to the crowd about his legacy and I know Ty remembers that and he wanted to earn this award." Tylan Tucker won the KHSAA State Wrestling Championship at 126-pounds in 2018. In the finals, he won a 6-4 decision over Union County's Sam Bacon to finish his senior season with a 45-4 record. Tucker was a state champion as a youth wrestler, a middle schooler and in high school. Tucker also placed three times in the high school state tournament. In high school, he totaled over 100 victories. On May 14, he signed his letter of intent to continue wrestling at the University of Indianapolis, where he intends to study science. "Growing up in Woodford County and knowing the history of the legends that have worn the black and gold, I knew when my senior year came around if I worked hard I could win this award," said Tucker. "We've all been told who Michael was and what he stood for. If you are going to be mentioned in the same sentence as a guy like him, you know you must have been a hard worker. I am very excited to win this scholarship and am grateful that the board noticed the same characteristics in me."

"Tylan is a driven, determined and dedicated young man," said Parks. "The fact that he won state titles at three different levels speaks volumes for how driven he has been for such a long time. I believe that the sky is the limit for him at the next level and feel very fortunate to have coached him."

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