Freshmen who come to Minnesota rarely ever compete as a true freshman, let alone have a starting spot immediately after their arrival.
But Logan Storley wanted the chance to wrestle for the team as soon as he made it to campus four years ago.
“Coming in, [Storley] said immediately, ‘I want to wrestle as a true freshman,’” head assistant coach Brandon Eggum said. “He competed well in the [training] room against guys that were very successful. You could just tell that he is ready to go.”
Storley, now a senior, will compete in the NCAA championship meet later this month at 174 pounds, attempting to garner his fourth-consecutive All-American accolade — an uncommon feat in collegiate wrestling.
Then again, Storley’s not a common wrestler.
He took the wrestling scene in stride his freshman year, going 25-9 and recording a perfect 7-0 record in Big Ten dual matches.
Eggum said most freshmen struggle on the mat when they first enter the program — but not Storley.
“His mat wrestling is phenomenal,” Eggum said.
To cap off his freshman season, Storley finished second in the Big Ten championships and sixth at the NCAA championships. One of his most significant moments was in the quarterfinals against Iowa’s Ethan Lofthouse.
“I took him down with three seconds to go to the semifinal [to] ensure that I would be an All-American my true-freshman year,” Storley said. “That’s one of the greatest feelings I have ever had.”
Road to Minnesota
Storley’s father Larry chuckled as he recalled the time when he was first told his son should wrestle.
“It was actually my wife’s hairdresser that mentioned it,” Larry Storley said. “He was tearing up the place as usual, and she said … ‘He’s got so much energy. You should put him in wrestling.’ And we looked into it.”
Larry Storley said by the time he found a wrestling program for Logan to join, it was already halfway through the season. So the next year, when Logan was 5 years old, his son got on the mat for the first time.
“All the coaches told me that they had 40 kids on the mat — rolling around and running around,” Larry Storley said. “But Logan was the only one that would sit there and listen from the very first practice.”
That attentiveness, even at such a young age, translated to the mat.
“One of my first matches, I went out there, and I think I got a pin in about twenty seconds,” Logan Storley said.
He continued to compete at a high level and began high school wrestling as a seventh grader.
And from seventh grade to his senior year in high school, Logan Storley won six-straight state championships.
“I truly believe that wrestling is his calling,” Larry Storley said.
Logan’s performance in high school caught the eyes of many Division I-caliber programs.
But ultimately, Logan Storley only seriously considered two options — Minnesota and Nebraska.
“[Those] were our two places that we were going to go [visit],” Larry Storley said. “I told him that he needed to go there and spend some time prior to making a decision [because] the [program] will be your family for four years.”
By committing to Minnesota, Logan Storley joined a storied wrestling program.
“It came down to the wrestling tradition at Minnesota,” Logan Storley said. “And just the fact that I really got along with the coaches, and I liked the success that they had. Minnesota is one of the greatest wrestling programs, and I was excited to come here to compete for them and wrestle for them.”
Legacy and beyond
Logan Storley is near the end of his successful career at Minnesota, and to cement his legacy, he said he would like to win a national championship in his senior season.
“It would be a great way to go out,” Logan Storley said. “I’ll remember that forever, and I think a lot of people [would] remember that, too. It would mean a lot to me … to cap off my wrestling career here at Minnesota [with a NCAA title].”
Eggum said the chance at winning the title is the main reason Logan Storley is at Minnesota.
“He’s not going to settle for anything less,” Eggum said. “It would be a great achievement, and he has the tools and the desire to do it. For him to go out and win [the NCAAs] would be a historic book ending for him.”
But NCAA title or not, Larry Storley is proud of his son’s accomplishments.
“Once it’s all said and done, he’s going to be only one of [nine] in the history of [Minnesota] to be a four-time All-American, which is pretty phenomenal,” Larry Storley said. “At the end of the day, whether he’s a national champion or not, that isn’t the biggest deal. I just want him to be respected, and I think he has gained that already.”