One week was all it took to turn Logan Heil from a standout wrestler into the 2018-19 Gazette MVP.
The Brunswick senior had always been great, but seven days in July in Buies Creek, N.C., made Heil an unstoppable force.
That’s where his brother Josh, a four-time state placer, wrestles for Campbell University under the watchful eye of his brother and assistant coach Dean, a four-time state champion and two-time national champion.
“It was spending time with them and learning their lifestyle,” Logan Heil said. “It was learning how they wrestled and using that. I used that and went to the (preseason) Grappler Fall Classic to see how I did.”
The 126-pounder won the tournament and never looked back as he reached new heights with a Division I state championship.
“They changed up my mentality and how I thought about matches, as well as how hard I could go,” he said. “After spending that time, I gained a lot of confidence. When I took that and applied it, I felt like a lot had changed in that short amount of time. I was satisfied, but not that much satisfied, so I kept working on it.”
A third-place finisher at state in 2017 and sixth-place finisher in 2018, Heil knew he had what it took. The near-miss losses got to him the most.
At 41-4 this season, there still were a couple losses, but what he did with them took the Cleveland State pledge to the highest place he could go in high school wrestling.
The defeats didn’t eat him up.
In fact, he learned from the losses to two-time state placers Dylan Shawver of Elyria and Jimmy Carmany of Brecksville. They were about finding the edge that would put him over the top.
“Every day he thought about Shawver,” Brunswick coach Mike Koshar said. “He thought about Carmany. He thought about (St. Edward runner-up) Angelo Rini. He thought about (Cincinnati LaSalle two-time state placer) Antoine Allen, and it propelled him to that level.
“That started this summer. He wasn’t happy with losing, but he accepted the losses and worked on improving. He kind of took that attitude throughout the season.”
With wins at the Solon Comet Classic, North Coast Classic, Medina Invitational Tournament and Wadsworth Sectional, those losses didn’t come often.
Heil’s 100 near falls were second in Medina County, and he finished his career with 150 victories.
When the state tournament came, Heil looked at a loaded bracket. The Hoover District runner-up didn’t so much as flinch.
He obliterated Dublin Coffman freshman Ismael Ayoub to set up a quarterfinal with Allen, who didn’t have a chance in a 14-4 major decision.
That put him in a Greater Cleveland Conference rematch with Shawver, who had beaten him twice. The three-time state placer for the Pioneers jumped on Heil, going up 7-3 in the second period, but gassed a minute into the third.
That’s when Heil struck, taking a 10-9 win into the finals.
Rini, who Heil beat last season at state, gave up four points early and lost 6-4 as Brunswick crowned its fifth state champion and fourth under Koshar.
“His composure was awesome,” Koshar said. “He was down in his second and third matches and came back. In his quarterfinal match, he was down four points and scored 14 points to win 14-4. The biggest thing was he didn’t panic. He didn’t get frustrated. That’s how he approached it.”
Heil has taken the philosophy and is using it all the time. One of the most laid-back wrestlers in the game, you’ll never see him sweating the small stuff.
“You can move on to the next step,” he said. “Worry about the things that you can control. Forget about the things you can’t control. It’s on you for losing a match. Accept it and move on.
“With the right amount of endurance and motivation, you can come back from any match. You just have to stay focused and you’ll be fine. Stay in position and be the wrestler you can be. If you let your opponent dictate the match, you won’t get the result you want.”
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