RIC athlete spotlight: Nathan Lackman
Assistant Sports Editor
Nathan Lackman, a senior here at RIC, has gathered quite the resume due to his wrestling. Lackman, a political science major and management minor, is far from his usual home of Wernersville, Pennsylvania as he chose RIC to continue his education. Last season he was the NCAA Division III champion at 157 lbs while also earning All-American honors at the NCAA National Championship. His experience over the years is what brought him to this moment, but it started out very different.
He saw wrestling first hand as his dad wrestled growing up and was his first coach.
“My dad wrestled growing up, and then in elementary school there was a flyer being passed around for wrestling,” Lackman told The Anchor. “I took an interest in it because I thought it was the WWE, it was far from it but I liked it and decided to continue with it.”
After starting in elementary school, he continued to wrestle all the way up until now, and he was pretty good at it. But what drove him from Pennsylvania and ultimately to RIC?
He said, “My sister was studying here, and I used to come visit her. I fell in love with the area and the people and started to look at colleges around here . . . I met Coach Jones my senior year and formed a relationship with him and ultimately decided to choose RIC.”
The relationship formed a year prior to Lackmans Freshman year but it was long lasting.
“Coach Jones has shown me what it means to be a coach on the mat and off the mat,” Lackman said. “He treats everyone equally and with respect and has become a mentor to me. He has shown me that wrestling is important, but that it also has an end one day and isn’t all about the wins and losses, but what you ultimately take away from it. Control what you can in the moment and focus on that. Coach Jones encompasses what a coach and mentor should be.”
He became the NCAA Division III champion, proving to be the best in the division. “It feels good to be a National Champion,” Lackman said. “I always try to remember that there are bigger things in life than wrestling. I know I have a target on my back but I try to not let the outside stuff interfere with sport. Regardless of the results, there is always a greater purpose in life, and God will put me where I need to be.”
Wrestling will always be a part of Lackmans life. He began when he was young and will continue until his college years are over.
Lackman said he isn’t “taking anything off the table except for MMA or UFC” when asked about what lies next after he graduates.
“I see myself in more of a coaching/mentor role once I finish, but the competitive side of me always wants to continue wrestling,” Lackman added. “If making it into the WWE is in the cards, I’d definitely consider going that route and trying out. But at the end of the day, there are always bigger things than wrestling and God has his plan for me and I will go with the flow wherever it takes me.”
Lackman has an impressive 27-3 singles record as the wrestling team as a whole sits at 9-10 for the season. His three losses have come from Division I opponents, yet he continues to dominate elsewhere and looks to be crowned national champion once again.