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Luke Vogel, right, demonstrates the form that helped him earn the coveted Triple Crown of Wrestling — the Missouri Challenge, the Ozark Challenge and the Amateur Athletic Union's State Championship. Stephen Glover photo (click for larger version)

Fifteen-year-old athlete captures coveted Triple Crown of Wrestling

As much as he may entertain the idea, Luke Vogel may never be known for a catchy name like the "Masked Menace" or the "Iron Butcher."

What Vogel is known for, though, is being one of the best amateur wrestlers in the state of Missouri.

In fact, the 15-year-old member of the Oakville Junior Tigers Wrestling Club recently won the coveted Triple Crown of Wrestling.

The Triple Crown involves capturing the Missouri Challenge, the Ozark Challenge and the Amateur Athletic Union's State Championship.

"They're the three biggest tournaments in the state," said Luke's father, Tim Vogel, who also serves as head wrestling coach at Oakville Senior High School.

"This is actually his second year in a row that he's won the AAU state tournament," Tim Vogel said.

The wrestler competes at 140 pounds, which is considered one of the toughest weight brackets in high school wrestling. Yet his father is looking forward to seeing his son move on to the next level of amateur wrestling.

"I'm very excited about him wrestling in high school because I think he'll be a good high school wrestler," Tim Vogel said. "He's an extremely hard worker and very aggressive. He's the type of wrestler that's not easily intimidated. He's out there every match because he really has goals in mind."

It's tough not to have lofty goals rumbling around in your head when you consider the Vogel family's tradition in the sport.

As a student at Lindbergh High School, Tim Vogel placed third and fourth at the high school state championships at 132 pounds.

He went on to the University of Missouri where he served as the team's captain during his senior year and also took fourth in the Big Eight Conference Championships.

Luke's older brother Tim also found success at the state championships where he placed at 112 pounds, 125 pounds and 130 pounds.

"We didn't even push him (Luke) hard into the sport as a first-grader like most people do," Tim Vogel explained. "He really didn't start hitting it (wrestling) hard until the sixth grade."

So when Luke wrestled in the AAU State Championship with the Triple Crown on the line, he'll be the first to admit that there was a great deal riding on just that one match.

"There's only a couple of guys in the state that had done it this year," the student athlete said. "Just thinking that I could be one of the few Triple Crown winners was really nerve wracking."

Despite all of his accomplishments on the mat, Luke is also a solid baseball player and a member of his middle school's honor roll.

But the high school season is now just eight months away and Luke realizes that to continue his current success, he'll need to spend a lot of time in the offseason preparing himself for the upcoming year.

"Right now I just want to go out there and get to state," he said. "I just want to try to be one of the best freshmen in the state."

Maybe a catchy nickname isn't such a bad idea.

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