Osakis wrestling coach Joey Andreasen remembers well the day that Chris Grove called him to ask if he could talk to Andreasen in his classroom.
Grove and Andreasen both teach in Osakis, and Grove had some information that it took a while for Andreasen to believe. Grove’s son, Logan, wanted to join the wrestling program.
“I still didn’t really know if he was serious even the next day,” Andreasen said.
The news of a kid wanting to join a sport doesn’t sound like much of a shocker on the surface, but Logan’s move to wrestling was different. Basketball runs deep in the Grove family, and the two sports share the same winter season.
Chris has six brothers and one sister who grew up in Grey Eagle. All of them played basketball in high school, with three of Chris’ brothers being 1,000-point scorers in their careers.
All of the boys attended Fergus Falls Community College and played basketball, with their sister playing college volleyball. Five of the brothers continued their basketball careers at four-year colleges. Chris has coached junior high basketball for 14 years in Osakis, and his oldest brother, Paul, is the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Minnesota-Morris. His other brother, Tim, is the women’s coach in Morris.
Playing basketball has all but been a given in the Grove family for generations, including with Logan’s older brother, Carter, who starts for the 11-1 Osakis boys basketball team. That’s why even Logan himself was uncertain when he went to his parents at the end of his 8th-grade year.
“I thought they’d say no, so I just made a little light joke about joining wrestling,” Logan said. “Then they said, ‘Are you serious?’ I said, ‘If you’ll let me.’ They’ve been really supportive. My dad has taken me to a couple different camps and clinics. It’s just nice because they support me 100% even if they don’t know everything that I’m doing.”
Chris and his family are learning about wrestling through Logan, who in his third year has become one of the top wrestlers in the Silverstreaks’ lineup. Logan is 17-6 this season at 113 pounds after going 2-1 during Osakis’ home duals tournament last Friday.
“It’s refreshing to see a kid come out late and have some success and stick it out,” Andreasen said. “Every year, we have two or three kids who want to try wrestling, and they usually don’t last halfway through the year. They’re starting so young now that it’s really difficult for someone to start in eighth, ninth, 10th-grade unless you’re an extremely gifted athlete. Obviously, Logan is a pretty gifted athlete, and he has just a drive and wants to be so good at it.”
Logan had never stepped foot on a wrestling mat before coming out his freshman year. He had a friend on the wrestling team, and had gotten to the point where basketball was no longer fun for him. He didn’t know what to think when he first gave wrestling a try.
“It was hard,” Logan said. “It was just really tough even cardio wise. I was in cross country and thought I’d be fine, but it’s more than just cardio. I gained about six pounds my first year just in muscle mass from the amount of push-ups and everything we do in practice.”
Logan admits that he thought he wouldn’t last himself in wrestling.
“I thought I would hate it,” he said with a smile.
It turned out to be quite the opposite. Andreasen said Logan has surprised everyone with how competitive he is after such a late start, but it’s not a surprise with how he got here. Logan made up for lost time by diving head first into his preparation.
“When he first started, he would go to our practices and he wanted to learn, so he would go to every elementary practice after it to try to learn and help kids,” Andreasen said. “He was traveling to Willmar on Wednesdays and Sundays. He’d go to Barrett in the spring. What I love about Logan and being able to coach him is he just loves the sport of wrestling like I love the sport of wrestling. It’s just so fun to see.”
Athletic talent sometimes trumps an early start, and Logan has that. His strength is wrestling from on top where he can use that athleticism to get opponents on their back. He did that in his opening match on Friday against Kimball’s Blake Brutger, pinning him in 1:58. One of the highlights of the season for him was pinning a former state entrant early this winter.
“The only kids he’s lost to this year are ranked wrestlers,” Andreasen said. “For a third-year wrestler to be that competitive is extremely surprising. It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s just been a blast for him and me to see that kind of success.”
In his varsity career, Logan is 39-27, with 28 of those wins coming by pins. He was named the team’s most-improved wrestler as a sophomore, and has grown even more off that season.
“Honestly, it has been surprising seeing his success. It's been fun and exciting too,” Chris said. “Vicky and I are very proud of him. We are very thankful for all of the people who have helped try to get him as caught up as possible -- his coaches, teammates, elementary coaches, volunteer coaches, other parents. The whole wrestling community has been so good welcoming him in and helping him out.”
Logan is not thinking too far ahead in the midst of a breakout season. Making a state tournament is the pinnacle for every high school wrestler, but he says his focus is on taking things one match at a time. He’s accomplished a lot in three years, and his coach is excited to see the rest of his career unfold.
“I don’t really want to put that pressure on him right now,” Andreasen said of Logan’s potential this year and next. “If he gets the right guy and gets on top, he could pin anyone. He’s going to scare people, so we’ll keep improving and hopefully in the end he’ll be in the mix.”