THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2005 – DAY 1
Covington junior 189 lb. wrestler, Logan Brown appeared as cool as a cucumber 24 hours before his opening round match at the state meet. He visited the wrestling building Wednesday evening to check his weight and upon his entrance and entire building full of youth wrestlers stopped in their tracks. Brown, as focused as ever, didn’t noticed as he proceeded to the locker room and to the scales.
Upon exiting from the locker room, he was greeted by the 30-plus wrestlers, who just wanted to wish him luck and shake his hand. The smiles on the little kids’ faces as they chanted “Let’s Go Logan”, was proof that each youth wrestler’s admiration of Brown was genuine.
Brown took time to sit for close to thirty minutes and watch the kids wrestle, all the while smiling and chatting as if he didn’t have a worry in the world, let alone the biggest few days of his life just hours away and the hopes of an entire town on his shoulders.
The hopes of Covington have been the hopes of Logans’ for much longer, and he has passed the first test in achieving his goal of placing at state and ultimately becoming a state champion.
Brown opened the state tournament with a dominating 10-1 win over Jeremy Stevens of Ashland Crestview. Stevens, who came in with a 38-7 record after placing fourth in the Fosteria districts, didn’t have an answer for Brown’s aggressive style of wrestling.
Logan controlled the match from the outset as he began with a takedown and then slapped Stevens into a cradle for three back points. At the end of the first period, Brown held a 5-0 lead.
The second period saw some uneasy moments as Stevens nearly scored some back points after having Brown in an unfamiliar position. But, as quickly as Stevens’ opportunity presented itself, Brown took it away with a reversal.
Logan continued to control the third and final period as Stevens’ only point of the match came on a roughing penalty on Logan for pushing the Crestview wrestler into the scorers’ table. Stevens went on to defeat Kurt Schnittger of Rocky River Lutheran, 7-2 in the first consolation round.
By winning his first match, Brown improved to 47-0 and received the rest of the evening off. Logan’s journey continues Friday as he faces Marion Pleasant’s Alex Ballenger (33-7) who advanced by pinning Kurt Schnittger (40-5) of Rocky River Lutheran West. Doors open at 9:00am and wrestling begins at 10:00am. Brown will likely wrestle around 10:30am. Should he win his next match, Logan will wrestle in the semifinals beginning at 6:30pm on mat 7 or 8.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2005 – DAY 2
The difference from becoming a state champion or a state placer can be just one move. Who hits their move and who doesn’t can make all the difference in the world.
This was never more evident then in the semifinal match between two unbeaten titans at 189 lbs., last years 171 lb. title holder, Spencer Dye from Sandusky St. Mary Central Catholic and Covington’s own Logan Brown. Brown fell just short of hitting his move and Dye converted on his own move to escape with a 4-1 decision.
Brown’s move came just 20 seconds into the match. Brown attempted a double-leg takedown and appeared to have Dye where he wanted for two points. Unfortunately, as Brown went to finish the move he slipped and Dye escaped without harm.
The score remained scoreless after one period and Dye chose the top position, his strong suit, to begin the second stanza.
The returning state title holder capitalized by turning Logan for three back points to take a 3-0 lead. But, Logan fought his way out of the move and eventually escaped to narrow the gap to 3-1.
With the lead and just 3:00 left in the match, Dye became defensive and protected his lead. Logan never received an opportunity for hitting his patented move and the match ended at 4-1 after another point was awarded to Dye on an escape.
“Logan slipping on his double-leg was probably the difference in the match,” said Randy Sowers, a former state qualifier for the Buccs. “If he hit that move, the match would have been totally different, strategically. He (Dye) would have had to be more offensive, which would have worked right into Logan’s favor. Instead, he (Dye) was able to sit on his lead and just keep from getting caught.”
As much as Brown’s missed opportunity early on hurt his chances to advance to the state finals, the back points Dye accumulated in the second period did as much damage.
“We knew coming in that he (Dye) was very solid on top,” mentioned Covington coach, Eric Vanderhorst. “Logan did well to fight out of it, but those back points made a difference. At this level, it doesn’t take much to separate the top guys from the rest of the pack and one mistake can make the difference.”
Logan made it to the semifinals with a 12-5 victory over Marion Pleasant’s Alex Ballenger in the quarterfinals. Brown manhandled the muscular senior for six takedowns, while only surrendering points via escapes.
With the defeat to Dye, Logan drops his first contest of the season and now stands at 48-1. He also moves to the consolation semifinals Saturday morning against Sycamore’s Eric Haubert (22-3). Haubert defeated Dustin Porter of Burton Berkshire in overtime, 3-1 to advance. The winner will wrestle for third or fourth, while the loser will wrestler for fifth or sixth.
Wrestling begins at 10:00am and Logan will likely take to the mat at approximately 10:15am.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2005 – DAY 3
Covington junior Logan Brown had just had his hands raised in victory after an overtime win over Josh Fox of Castalia Margaretta for a third place finish in the state tournament, and the first words out of his mouth were, “This isn’t good enough”.
The tone in his voice and the expression on his face made a statement to his coaches that he knows there is more work to do and he’s willing to pay the price to achieving his ultimate goal; becoming a state champion.
You’d think a kid who finished his junior season with a 50-1 record and became the first state placer at Covington since 1984 would be thrilled with his accomplishment. But, Logan Brown is an original and one who feels his goal is not fulfilled.
“I remember after he failed to qualify for state as a freshman he came to us with a three-year plan,” said Logan’s father. “He said he was going to make it to state as a sophomore, then place as a junior, and win it all as a senior. Midway through this season he said he was going to forget about placing and win it all this year.”
Logan almost pulled it off too.
He fell to the defending state champion, Spencer Dye in the semifinals by a score of 4-1 after barely missing on a double-leg takedown, which likely would have made a difference.
Devastated emotionally, Logan had less than 24 hours to regroup for his semifinal consolation match against Eric Haubert of Sycamore Mohawk.
“He (Logan) didn’t sleep well last (Friday) night,” said his mother, obviously worried about the upcoming match. “That loss (to Dye) was really eating at him. Hopefully he can refocus.”
Brown did refocus and wrestled an intelligent match against Haubert, who was obviously concerned about Brown’s ability to rack up takedown points.
Haubert wrestled a defensive match and took a 1-0 lead in the second stanza on an escape. Early in the third, Logan tied the score at 1-1 on an escape of his own.
The score remained tied until 30 seconds left in the match when Brown got inside and locked on to his patented move, the double-leg, and scored the takedown to take a 3-1 lead. While on top, Brown worked a few moves in an attempt to get some back points, but settled for allowing an escape and the neutral position with 14 seconds left.
“We felt it was better to give up the one than risk giving up a possible reversal with that much time left,” said Covington assistant coach, Eric Vanderhorst. “We felt Logan could control the situation better on his feet.”
That’s what happened as Brown prevented Haubert from getting a takedown and the match ended with Brown a winner, 3-2.
This set up a consolation finals match between Brown and Josh Fox, a 3-1 overtime winner over Nick Dowe of Brooklyn.
Fox shocked Brown by taking a 2-0 lead on a takedown. It was only the second time in the entire state tournament Brown had surrendered a takedown to his opponent.
Brown rebounded, however and scored two takedowns of his own, while surrendering two escape points to Fox to set up an overtime session with the score knotted at 4-4.
During a timeout for blood to Brown’s nose, he told coach Tom Barbee, “I’m not losing this match”. Barbee responded by telling Logan to make his move on the whistle.
Brown shot in moments after the whistle sounded and took Fox down with his patented double-leg for a 6-4 victory and a third place finish at 189 pounds.
Only a slight smile came across his face as he raised his hands and looked up to his parents in the stands. He immediately walked off the mat and set the tone for achieving his goal a year from now.