Wrestling with Family 


Photo­graphy by
Jeff Watts

Tanner, Crystal, Heath, and Charly Harvey

Tanner Harvey’s greatest asset in a wrestling match is his relentless—but not reckless—attack. An experienced logger and Oregon native, the redshirt junior is workmanlike, continuing to fight and aggressively engage his foes whether he is leading by eight points or searching for a late takedown to close a deficit. During the 2018–19 season, he rode that strategy to a 28-11 record and a team-high 11 pins without taking one.

“You don’t have to ask Tanner to go out there and give you 100 percent,” Coach Teague Moore says. “If you’re the opponent, you’d better be ready for a full seven-minute match because this guy’s going to wrestle the whole time.”

Harvey, 22, doesn’t waste time—because he doesn’t have any to spare. In addition to managing the demands of a Division I athlete and full-time student, Harvey, Kogod/BSBA ’21, is married with two kids: 20-month-old Heath and 7-month-old Charly. 

The NCAA does not track the number of student-athletes with children, but it’s neither unheard of nor common.

“I might’ve had one or two [wrestlers] that were married, but I don’t think I’ve had any guys with kids,” says Moore of his 15-year career. “It changes the dynamics. [Harvey’s] thought process is much different than an 18-year-old freshman that’s coming out of high school with no responsibilities. You’re training, you’re managing your weight, but you’re also taking care of bills and making sure there’s food on the table.”

Juggling assignments, dual meets, and diaper duty is “definitely stressful,” Harvey says, but he is anchored by his wife of nearly two years, Crystal. “I couldn’t do it without her.”

The couple met in an elevator at Southwest Oregon Community College and have since navigated life’s ups and downs together. They wed at a courthouse in Gold Beach, Oregon, in June 2018, and welcomed Heath a few days later. That summer, they packed their lives into a U-Haul bound for Falls Church, Virginia.

“I was nervous about being away from family, having a newborn, and having to do it all by myself,” Crystal says. “But we’ve slowly figured it out.”

Every new parent has to develop a routine and Tanner has settled into his. Practice, weightlifting, and training sessions consume more than 18 hours during a non-competition week. Tanner knocks out most of his studying in the quiet hours before morning weights or after international business class. He enjoys family time in the evening, dancing and watching Peppa Pig with his kids and racing Crystal to see who can read Dr. Seuss’s ABC the fastest. If they’re lucky, everyone gets to bed early—something Tanner’s teammates rib him about on road trips.

“My favorite part about being a dad is coming home at the end of the day and seeing Heath running to the door screaming ‘Dada!’ with his arms up,” Tanner says. “You can’t beat that feeling.”

The Harveys have grown to love DC, but after graduation, a return to Oregon seems likely. Tanner plans to use his business administration degree to help run Harvey’s Selective Logging, the family business he’s helped with since middle school. 

With two youngsters, the couple has their hands full, literally holding Charly as they chase a more mobile Heath. But they marvel at the kids’ milestones—Heath’s first somersault, Charly’s first giggle—charting the growth of their young family.

“There’s a lot more love in the house,” Crystal says. “There’s less sleep, for sure, but more love.”