Prep wrestling

Portage's Logsdon went from losing his varsity spot to earning a state berth

2013-02-12T17:00:00Z 2013-02-13T16:22:05Z Portage's Logsdon went from losing his varsity spot to earning a state berthJim Peters jim.peters@nwi.com, (219) 548-4363 nwitimes.com
February 12, 2013 5:00 pm  • 

It's about a two-and-a-half hour drive from Portage to Indianapolis.

For Dylan Logsdon, there have been more than a few times when it seemed like a world away.

There was sixth grade, when Logsdon didn't win a match on the middle school wrestling team until the conference tournament.

There was last year, his first full season on varsity, when he was beaten in the first round of the regional.

Finally, there was November, when Logsdon, now a senior, lost his spot in the lineup to a freshman in a wrestle-off.

"I didn't think it would come to this," Logsdon said of his state finals berth at 126 pounds.

As coaches are inclined to say, sometimes you have to sink to the bottom of the valley before you can climb to the top of the mountain.

"You hate to say losing makes you a better person, but it made him refocus, understand that on a given day, it can be taken away from you," Portage coach Leroy Vega said. "It was hard to sit out a kid like that. You want him in the lineup. It was an eye-opener. We have a good freshman class and there are guys in the room willing to take your spot if you don't put in the time. It made him realize he had to step up a lot more or he was going to be a JV guy."

Logsdon missed four days with a cut near his eye that required four stitches. Upon his return, he had to wrestle freshman Steven Lawrence to regain his spot and lost 6-1.

"I was mad," Logsdon said. "It gave me time to think. It made me realize that taking time off for an injury doesn't cut it. It did motivate me. It made me work harder. I'm a lot more dedicated. There's no slacking."

The two both wrestled in the season-opening tournament at Chesterton. The following week, Lawrence didn't make weight at 126 and was bumped to 132. Though he would've preferred regaining his spot by earning it on the mat, Logsdon was back in the lineup, and he wasn't looking back.

"He made the choice," Vega said. "To go from a kid who was a regional qualifier and losing a wrestle-off, he grew from it. He matured. He was making weight, putting in the extra hours."

Well-known for his ability to cradle, Logsdon has trained specifically with assistant coach Eric Keith to make himself a more complete wrestler.

"They come up with a great game plan every time he steps on the mat, and if Dylan sticks to that plan, he's going to be successful," Vega said.

Logsdon (29-8) won the Calumet sectional and regional before placing third at the Merrillville Semistate to earn his trip to Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

"It felt amazing," Logsdon said. "I've gotten better. I'm able to work other stuff. I'm more relaxed. The coaches told me, 'Why not go out there and just be you?' I kind of just figured it out."

After making the trip to state last year to watch from the stands, Logsdon's excited to be on the arena floor this time, and hopes to come home with a medal for good measure.

"I wanted to be out there wrestling," he said. "Not making it last season, I wanted to do something. I feel accomplished."

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