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Thomsen enshrined in Union High School Athletic Hall of Fame
October 26, 2018

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It's a loud, crowded Friday night at Union Stadium for the district's 30th Homecoming as the home Knights football team have pulled well ahead of visiting Roland-Story. Speaking off football, the 2011 Knights have just been honored for their 3A championship and will be forever remembered in the Union High School Athletic Hall of Fame and as a team that "broke the mold" for Coach Joe Hadachek.

As the fan's applause for their former Knights dies down and the team makes their way off the track, another young man comes forward. Cameras point toward Logan Thomsen, who gives a slight smile as a plaque is presented to him. The announcer resumes speaking.

"Next, we would like to recognize 2013 Union graduate Logan Thomsen. Logan had a standout wrestling career while competing for Union High School from 2009-2013, in which he compiled a 178-13 record, placing Logan 3rd all-time in Union Wrestling history. During those four years, Logan was a 2A Sectional Champion all four years, 2A District Champion three years, and a NICL Conference Champion two years."

Thomsen, a four year state qualifier while at Union, found himself not on the podium like each of his four state-tournament appearances, but rather in front of a welcoming crowd who watched the former Union athlete place no lower than third at the State Wrestling Tournament and eventually became the school's seventh champion. But before any of that could happen, Thomsen had to come to appreciate the sport.

"My first exposure to wrestling was pretty modest," Thomsen said. "My dad used to try to teach me and my brother Max wrestling moves in the living room. Initially I wasn't very interested. I was more into playing games such. I struggled a lot initially, my dad actually had to bribe me with chocolate milk or sweets to get me to go to practice most of the time. However, even though I didn't really like wrestling early on or enjoyed going to the competitions I always wrestled 100 percent and even though I lost a lot of matches during my pre school and elementary school years I fought hard enough I had modest success I would qualify for AAU state and placed a few times."

Around eighth grade, Thomsen's interest began to mount he matured and was able to compete with better wrestlers around his age. While he honestly could say he did have any goals of being a state champ, he strived to walk off the wrestling mat each time a little bit stronger. By the time high school arrived, Thomsen's devotion to wrestling had blossomed.

"It was about all I knew really at that point and it was the activity that I succeeded in the most," Thomsen said. "Nothing compared to what I would later be accomplishing but I was a much better wrestler than anything else by far so I kind of started to specialize in that sport more than the others."

During his entire time at Union, Thomsen would be under the careful eye and instructor of Bart Mehlert, a former Division III national champion for Wartburg College and a state champion himself for Union in 2000.

"When Logan first started he was not very technically sound, but had a really great work ethic no matter the practice partner, match score or outcome," Mehlert said. "He won on pure hard work and conditioning early on."

Over his four years at Union, Thomsen gradually went up in weight classes until his senior year in the 152 pound class. For a reason he cannot explain, 152 was his best outing. While not quite as strong as his opponents, Thomsen felt he had" lots of energy and most of the time by the second period my opponents could barely stand" and attributed his success to "90 percent conditioning and attrition and 10 percent actually using technique and skill."

"He ran every morning, stayed late after practices to condition," Mehlert said. "Once he found some techniques that worked for him, it was clear he would be at the top soon."

True enough, Thomsen overcome a tough quarter-finals match at State in 2013 to win by technical fall and take the top of the podium as a state champion like the very man who helped shape him as a wrestler.

"Seeing Logan at the top was a great feeling for everyone involved at Union," Mehlert said. "The only kids that could beat him ninth through eleventh grade both ended their careers as four time state champions. When Logan was a senior we had that talk about going up a weight class and just competing and it worked out for him. I was glad it did. He earned it."

After graduating from Union High School, Thomsen would walk on at the University of Iowa where he would compete for three years and have an overall record of 54-18 for the Hawkeyes, considered one of the best programs in the country.

"My first year at Iowa was pretty rough transitioning from high school to the division one level," Thomsen said. "I don't recall scoring a takedown on a wrestler who wasn't a freshman until three months in. The famous intensity of the Iowa wrestling room was surprisingly manageable for me after the extreme training regimen I had to maintain my weight from high school. The length of the season really wore on me and school was much harder. Between the two I wasn't succeeding as much as I wanted at wrestling and I couldn't abandon my academics to make more energy for wrestling."

After Thomsen's redshirt sophomore year at Iowa, he would transfer to Wartburg College, where his former coach had won a title. While at Wartburg, Logan was a standout for the Knights, compiling a record of 66-5 in he two seasons and was a 2 time DIII All-American with 2 National Runner-up's at 157 pounds according to Union. Thomsen recently graduated last spring and is now teaching and coaching at the Mason City School District.

"I don't really have any experience in the coaching department yet outside of working wrestling camps," Thomsen said. "I guess mostly I want to do it so I can continue to live the warrior lifestyle a little longer, which is what I call living as a dedicated student wrestler. This brings me kind of into how I balanced the two. The way I looked at it my wrestling and academics were one in the same."

As he begins his new adventure with a different role on the mat, an old coach is supportive of his career choice and goals, as well as his recent recognition in the Union High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

"This will sound selfish but, I dislike to see him go elsewhere other than Union to coach/teach as I know he will work hard at it and be successful with it," Mehlert said. "I feel Logan is very deserving of this honor. It shows our young that not all kids are athletically gifts/talented as others but through pure hard work goals can be achieved."

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