For someone as competitive as Logan Meek, the end result of his final trip to the Junior National Freestyle Championships in Fargo, North Dakota, was less than desirable.
But, let’s be honest, perfection is a hard target to acquire.
Meek wrapped up one of the best runs from a Southern Oregon wrestler Tuesday with a 12-2 loss in the championship finals at 145 pounds to Ohio’s Bryce Andonian. The three-time state champion from Crater High posted a 6-1 record overall, with five of his victories ending via technical fall and one by pin.
“It didn’t end fantastic but the rest of it was good,” said Meek, who spent the last two weeks training in Corvallis in preparation for joining Oregon State’s wrestling team.
While his loss in the finals remains a sticking point, Meek said he did get a chance to sit back and appreciate his run to the championship match this week.
“It was special because it’s the one thing I’ve never gotten to do through my wrestling career,” said Meek, “I’ve never won a national championship. This was my last high school tournament before I went off to college and my last chance to do it so it made it a little more special this week knowing it was my last shot.”
He certainly gave it his all, but the fifth-seeded Andonian was just a little better on this day. Andonian has committed to wrestle for Virginia Tech after he graduates high school in 2019.
Neither wrestler was all that familiar with the other, but Andonian was able to set the tone with a quick takedown that included back points.
“He shot pretty much off the whistle and took me down to my back for four points to open the match about 10 seconds in,” said Meek. “That was the one move that we knew he was going to attack with and his go-to move and I was like, ‘All right, now I’ve seen it and I can defend it,’ and then he hit me with it like three or four more times.”
It wasn’t necessarily one thing with Andonian that made him such a tough opponent, according to Meek.
“It was just a combination of everything,” he said. “He came in and I felt fine once I got with him on my legs and tied up, but he was more about upper body and throwing me out of it, and I’m not used to being thrown.”
After Andonian’s initial throw, Meek countered with his own takedown to make it 4-2 but Andonian got two more points with an ensuing takedown and then saw his lead bump to 7-2 when Meek’s coaches challenged a questionable call and lost, resulting in one point being awarded to Andonian.
“That made it to where if he got one more big move the match was over and it was pretty tough from there,” said Meek, who ultimately saw the match end at 1 minute, 34 seconds with the 10-point advantage.
Meek, who was unseeded in the tourney, scored a 10-0 win in 45 seconds against Sebas Swiggum of Minnesota in the quarterfinals, then punched his ticket to the finals with a 14-4 win over Wisconsin’s Drew Scharenbrock in 1:29 in the semifinals.
He credited his work with his fellow Oregon State wrestlers in the weeks leading up to the tournament for helping him cut down from 152 and 160 — where he’d been wrestling the past year — to 145.
“It’s awesome being up there,” said Meek of his time in Corvallis. “In two or three years at Crater I didn’t give up as many points as I have in one practice there. I probably have given up more points than I did my entire high school career and it’s fun knowing that I have to go all out at practice and fight for something to know that I’ve gotten better.”
Meek plans to remain in North Dakota for this week with fellow Crater standout Beau Crawford, who will be competing at 220 in the Junior National Greco-Roman Championships beginning Thursday. Although he won’t be on the mat for the second part of nationals, Meek still feels like he gained some valuable experience that will serve him well moving forward in college.
“More than anything I just gained confidence knowing that I beat up some of the best dudes in the country this week,” he said. “It just makes me feel good going into my college career knowing I can do that and I’m only going to get better.”