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SELMA - Heading into his senior year at Selma High School, wrestler Jace Luchau has had plenty of success on the mat, but he has his sights set on becoming a state champion, which is something he has yet to accomplish.

“That’s the ultimate goal,” Luchau said. “I haven’t got the opportunity yet to win a state title.”

Winning a state title with the Selma wrestling team would be important for him as well, especially after coming close in the past few years. The Bears placed fourth in the past two state tournaments.

“That’ll really be awesome, I would love that,” Lucahu said. “I would love for the team to win a state title.”

Last year at the CIF State tournament, Luchau finished in fourth place in the 152-pound weight class and finished as the No. 4 ranked wrestler in California.

After a successful summer of competing against wrestlers around the nation, Luchau heads into his senior year as the No. 2 ranked wrestler in the country in the 152-pound weight class.

Luchau’s summer included earning double All-American recognition at the 2018 Cadet and Junior National Championships at Fargo, North Dakota, in July.

The incoming senior competed in both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling in the junior 152-pound brackets. Luchau placed fifth in freestyle and seventh in Greco-Roman.

Combined with his past success against national competition, Luchau has earned All-American recognition seven times, which is the first time a Selma wrestler has accomplished that feat.

“Getting All-American [honors] and other things that I’ve done, I’m trying to put Selma on the map,” Luchau said.

With his success against high school and national competition, Luchau has received interest from various NCAA Division I schools including Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Cal Poly, California Baptist and Fresno State. After he’s completed with his official college visits, he expects to make a verbal commit soon after.

Over the years, Luchau formed a close relationship with UFC fighter Alex Perez, who coached the Selma wrestler when he started competing in the sport as a child. Since then, Perez has been Luchau’s mentor and both of them consider each other “brothers.”

“Jace couldn’t have had a better mentor,” his father, Jeremy Luchau, said. “Everything Alex has today, he’s worked for. He wasn’t the best athlete and he always worked extremely hard.

“I think when Jace got older he started to see what Alex had to do... He was sacrificing going out and partying with friends, having dates with girlfriends to go run or to work hard to chase his dreams. Once Jace got old enough to see that, he started implementing some of those things in his life and his wrestling career started to take off.”

“He wants to do better than I did, which he has,” Perez said about Luchau. “He’s done way more than I have in the sport of wrestling in high school. I’m pretty sure he’ll do more [than I did] in college.”

When asked about Luchau’s accomplishments, Perez said he was “proud of everything he’s done. He has worked for it. He just continued to work and get better.”

Before Perez’s fight with Jose Torres at UFC 227, Luchau was training with him in Southern California. Perez said it was fun to have Luchau around during his preparation for the fight.

On Aug.4, Perez defeated Torres with a first-round knockout to improve to 21-4 overall and 3-0 in the UFC. Perez’s knockout came at the 3:36 mark and he landed 104 punches on Torres in the first round.

Luchau hopes to follow his mentor’s footsteps and compete in mixed-martial arts when he finishes college. He also didn’t rule out competing in the Olympics in the future.

Up next for Luchau is wrestling at the Who’s No. 1 dual at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on Oct.7. The dual matches up the top wrestlers in the nation to face each other for the top ranking in their weight classes. Luchau is set to face top-ranked Andrew Alirez of Colorado in the 152-pound match.

Luchau’s Selma High teammate Richard Figueroa is also slated to compete in the dual against No. 4 ranked Jacob Decatur of Ohio.

Figueroa will go into the match as the top-ranked wrestler in the 106-pound weight class, but was previously defeated by Decatur in a 4-3 decision in semifinals of the Walsh Jesuit Ironman Tournament last December. Luchau and Figueroa are two of the three California wrestlers to compete in the event.

Jeremiah Martinez can be reached at 559-583-2413 or jmartinez@hanfordsentinel.com

News Reporter

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