The Mankato Free Press
---- — Mankato East heavyweight Logan Swanson knows the odds are against him.
The sophomore earned his first trip to the state tournament at Saturday's Section 2AA wrestling meet and feels good about his accomplishment. Now, however, he has the dubious distinction of wrestling Kasson-Mantorville's Sam Stoll in the first round of the Class AA tournament at Xcel Energy Center Friday.
Stoll is not only undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the state. He's ranked No. 1 in the nation and No. 3 in the world. Swanson plans to do his best but realizes he likely will end up in the consolation bracket after Round 1.
And from his point of view, that could work out to his advantage. He'll have an opportunity to wrestle a lot of matches and, perhaps, put himself in a position to medal.
"If I could place in the top six, that would be great," said Swanson, who takes a 27-7 record to the tournament. "I guess the ultimate goal would be to place third, but anywhere in the top six would be awesome."
That Swanson has qualified for state is no fluke. He was close to qualifying last year and wound up fourth in the section.
"He was one bad match away from wrestling for true-second at sections last year," East head coach Jon Dierks said. "We knew he had a good shot this year. He's worked hard to get where he is."
Swanson has been wrestling for only three years. Football is his primary sport with the Cougars and felt wrestling, rather than basketball, would be a better fit for him in the winter.
"Wrestling uses speed, footwork and balance and those are all important things for a lineman," Swanson said. "Basketball might be better if you're more of a linebacker or receiver in football."
It is his speed that has made Swanson a successful wrestler. He usually weighs in around 245 pounds and that often puts him at a 40-pound disadvantage against his heayweight opponents.
"I have to use my speed to compensate for that," Swanson said. "Leverage is important, too."
Whatever happens at state for Swanson, he intends to learn a lot. He expects to be nervous at the start but is hoping that will go away quickly.
The plan is to enjoy himself and learn as much as he can. He'll likely come out of it a better wrestler and, as he points out, there's nothing wrong with that.
Jim Rueda is The Free Press sports editor. You may contact him at 507-344-6381 or you may email him at email@example.com.