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Northwest Christian wrestler organizes Mexico trip to build houses

PHOENIX — When seeing Northwest Christian High School senior Tanner Webb up close for the first time, your first thought is not going to be, “This is obviously a wrestler who has been on varsity since his freshman year.”

Standing at 5-foot-4 and weighing in at 110 pounds, Webb fights off any notion you might have about what he does athletically.

Webb almost never wrestled, because while his brother had been involved in the sport since he was a kid, Webb’s mom said he was too small. She was worried about him.

Webb said he was always intrigued by wrestling and decided to go out for the team his freshman year. In the 106-pound weight class, he made varsity.

He placed in state competitions his sophomore and junior years, and said his goal is to win it his senior year.

Webb tells an unfortunate story from his junior campaign wrestling in the state tournament that reveals the type of competitor he is.

“I was the second-ranked seed, and in the quarterfinals, I separated my shoulder,” Webb said. “A guy picked me up and slammed me, and I was just devastated.”

Surely that was the end of Webb’s journey that season, right? As you’ll learn, there’s a never a time to expect anything ordinary from him.

“I went on to wrestle in the semifinals,” Webb said. “We just taped up my shoulder because I didn’t want to quit.

“I was wrestling someone I knew I could beat, but he just yanked on my shoulder and I couldn’t do it.”

When he’s not mixing it up and grappling on top of running track and cross country, Webb says his life revolves around music.

He’s involved in the school’s musicals every year and is also in the school’s marching band, playing the tuba. That fact shouldn’t surprise you, and, of course, Webb loves the fact that he carries around the biggest instrument.

“I love music. It’s a big part of my life,” Webb said. “Pretty much 24/7 I’ve got some sort of music going on.”

Outside of that, Webb’s true passion is when he works with a non-profit organization called 1Mission that builds houses for the less fortunate. The first time Webb went on a trip to Mexico to build a house was in seventh grade, and he wasn’t able to make it back again until his junior year.

It was then when Webb, who is second in his class at Northwest Christian with a 4.86 GPA, remembered and realized the impact the trip had.

“It’s just breathtaking what it does,” Webb said. “You see these people who have nothing, but they are also so happy with what they have. It makes me so grateful for what I do have, and to leave a permanent mark in their lives.”

In his senior year, Webb led the trip himself and spearheaded it through the summer before he even had his first official day on campus as a senior.

The trip takes place over a three-day period in which the group builds a house.

Webb, who is also National Honors Society President and a student ambassador for his school, said it’s something he wants to continue doing in college.

“It’s something I have an affinity for and is in my heart,” he added.

Webb plans on attending Arizona State University to study business, and expects to join the school’s marching band.

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