Logan Wagner: Zionsville’s First State Wrestling Champion
We are pleased to feature Zionsville Community High School’s (ZCHS) first ever state wrestling champion Logan Wagner on our cover this month. The Wagner name is no stranger to IHSAA wrestling championships, but Logan Wagner is the first in his family to win the title.
Amid the pandemic, Wagner navigated through the obstacles while keeping his goals in focus—to win the state championship his senior year. Along with his remarkable work ethic and support from both family, coaches and fellow wrestlers, Wagner succeeded in his mission and will graduate from ZCHS with a title he humbly and happily wears and the championship medal that will remind him of his journey to the top of his high school athletic career.
Wrestling Is in the Wagner Blood
Ever since he could walk, Wagner has been in a wrestling room alongside his family. His father, Robert, has been a wrestling assistant coach for 24 years. Wagner’s uncles Shane and Ryan Wagner are former ZCS Eagles who finished second (Shane) and third (Ryan) at state in 1997 and 2002, respectively.
Wagner’s brother, Kody, finished fourth in state in 2018. The match on Feb. 20 was Wagner’s fourth appearance in the state finals. He placed eighth as a freshman in 2018, sixth as a sophomore in 2019 and third in 2020. He won the 145-pound state title at the IHSAA state finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse after rallying from a 5-1 deficit and beat Center Grove’s Hayden Watson 9-5 with his father looking on.
Afterward, father and son were captured by photographers in a victorious embrace that visually describes the Wagner family pride and commitment to excellence.
“My family connection had a huge influence on me,” Wagner shared. “I’ve grown up in the wrestling room and have been a part of this program ever since I was a toddler. My freshman year was pretty special for me because I got to wrestle the whole season with my older brother, Kody. I think that did a lot for us, and it made our bond tighter. My goal [then] was to follow in his footsteps, and we kept moving on together. The further we got, the more I wanted it [the championship].”
Wagner shared that the Wagner family as a whole is invested in wrestling and is a core part of Wagner’s support team. Another unique aspect of Wagner’s championship journey is having his uncle Shane coach him in middle school and having the support and guidance from his father as assistant coach in high school.
“I think my favorite part about this whole [championship] journey is getting to do it with my dad,” Wagner shared. “That’s one of the things I’m most grateful for, that he was able to be there for my last run.”
ZCHS Wrestling head coach Doug Welch weighed in on Wagner’s victory at the state championship—ZCHS’s first championship title.
“Logan is very humble and very hungry,” Welch said. “He is self-motivated and comes from a great family. Not a lot fazes him when it comes to adversity. He was down 5-1 in the finals, and a deficit that large in the state finals is hard to come back from. He is mentally tough, and he battled back and found himself victorious in that finals match. He’s a four-time state placer who continues to get better each and every day. It was a special journey to watch him and to be a part of—it’s one I won’t forget.”
Persevering Through Pandemic
We asked Wagner how the pandemic affected his last two wrestling seasons, in particular his training regimen.
“Getting through the pandemic wasn’t that hard for me,” Wagner stated. “We’re a very tight-knit family, and we like to spend time with each other, so it wasn’t a big deal to be ‘trapped’ in the same house. We ended up building some of the American Ninja Warrior obstacles in our backyard, and we got pretty good at those. It helped to improve our strength and balance. I guess I enjoyed the training more than anything because it was different, and I got think outside of the box and do some different kinds of training.”
When it became evident that there would be wrestling season—that hinged upon athletes and staff following strict protocols and contact-tracing rituals—the coaches and athletes from Zionsville decided to focus on their core mission and push through the challenges. Their perseverance and discipline paid off.
Success Achieved and on to the Next
When asked what was going on in Wagner’s head leading up to the very moment that he walked onto the mat, he replied, “A big part of our training is visualization. One of the things our coaches have us do is imagine ourselves waking up, going about our morning business, packing our cooler for the day, driving to the school, getting on the bus to the events and checking weights, warming up and just running through all the steps of the day until the end of the last whistle.”
Wagner continued, “I had wrestled that state finals match probably 20,000 times in my head this whole season. I didn’t expect to feel like I was at home, but I felt like I had been there before.”
After being declared the winner, father and son embraced one another.
“We really didn’t say any words,” Wagner recalled. “We just gave each other a hug, and I couldn’t help but smile. I didn’t know what else to do—I was just exploding with energy. Honestly, I’ve been thinking about how to describe it, and even now I still don’t know how to explain it. It’s one of those things you have to experience for yourself because I just can’t put it into words.”
Wagner has committed to Marian University, where he will spend the next four years “climbing to the top of that podium.”
We asked Wagner what he will take with him from his coaches and the ZCHS Wrestling program, to which he responded, “My coaches have been a really special part of my journey. I look at all of them like they are my family now. They’ve made a big impact on my wrestling career and in my life in general. They’ve been great role models, and I hope that one day, I can be like them. How they [the coaches] carry themselves as individuals, always challenging themselves and making sure they are the best version of themselves in wrestling, work or life in general. They make sure that they’re giving 100% in every aspect of life, and I think that’s really cool.”