By Roger Moore
Webster, South Dakota, has produced a handful of recognizable national personalities.
Tom Brokaw, born in 1940, served as managing editor and anchor for NBC Nightly News from 1982-2004.
Born in 1977, Brock Lesnar won NJCAA and NCAA championships in wrestling before becoming UFC heavyweight champion and one of the most feared men in mixed martial arts.
Another name has been added: Logan Storley.
Last February, as a 171-pounder competing for Webster High, Storley became just the third wrestler in history to win six individual state wrestling championships; South Dakota’s Kirk Wallman and Alabama’s Michael Sutton also claimed six titles.
Storley, 42-1 as a senior, finished his high school mat career with an almost unbelievable 262-3 standard. And now to an already full trophy case has been added the Junior Dan Hodge Trophy for 2010-11, given annually to the top high school wrestler in the nation by the Amateur Athletic Union and WIN Magazine.
“It’s pretty fun to look back now,” said Storley, who did not lose a match to a South Dakota opponent from his eighth grade year through his senior campaign. “Winning that first one … it was a pretty exciting day and there was too much involved for me to really look ahead at the time.
“I’ve always loved wrestling, the physical nature of it, the combat, the 1-on-1. It’s all on yourself.”
“When (Storley) was 5 years old, I told his mom that he was a very gifted kid,” said long-time Webster coach John Schiley, a three-time South Dakota state champion. “Brock (Lesnar) was the first product and Logan is the finished product. I’m looking forward to watching him the next few years at Minnesota.”
Schiley retired before Storley’s senior season, giving way to Wade Rausch.
After winning his fourth state title — as a sophomore — Schiley summed up his pupil this way:
“I know a little bit about how Albert Einstein’s teachers must have felt when you teach somebody that’s smarter than you are. And that’s kind of what he is now,” said Schiley.
“All those people need knowledge, those gifted people need knowledge. It’s what they do with the knowledge that makes them so gifted. And that’s what Logan is. He takes something that I teach him, and then he puts it into his routine and makes it so special that nobody else can emulate it or stop it.”
Storley’s final match for Webster resulted in an 18-3 technical fall over Dallas Jungwirth of Redfield/Doland. It also clinched a team title for the Bearcats, their first since 2006, the year Storley was a seventh grader winning his first individual title as a 103-pounder.
“When you’ve been there so many times it shouldn’t be a big deal, but it was a real pressure-cooker,” said Schiley of Storley’s state-title bout. “When you’ve won 204 straight matches you don’t think about losing but since Logan had lost earlier in the year we really made sure we covered everything, wanted to make sure we hadn’t left anything out.” (His lone loss came to North Dakota-standout Preston Lehman. Storley was pinned in a headlock while leading 15-2.)
Storley, who will attend the University of Minnesota this fall, was the 2009 South Dakota Prep Boys Athlete of the Year; was named OW at the AAU’s prestigious Disney Duals in 2010; is a two-time NHSCA national champion; and claimed freestyle gold in 2010 two hours up the road in Fargo, N.D.
There was talk of Storley heading to Colorado Springs to focus on freestyle.
“I worked out there last summer,” said Storley. “We talked about it but it was going to either be Nebraska or Minnesota. I never went to (Coach J Robinson’s) camp but I started following UM when Brock (Lesnar) was there. I’m pretty sure I’m going to redshirt my first year.”
The AAU’s Bob Johnson said anyone who’s seen Storley as a prep in their state of South Dakota or nationally will see he’s in a league of his own.
“Storley truly exemplifies what it means to be an outstanding wrestler. He is a great kid who has succeeded at all levels and is also a truly fine young man who is an example that the young athletes of our state and country can certainly look up to and try to follow,” Johnson said.
In edging California’s Morgan McIntosh, Wisconsin’s Destin McCauley and Jesse Thielke for the Junior Hodge, Storley joins an elite group which includes national champions Troy Nickerson, Jeff Jaggers, Mark Perry, Teyon Ware, Steve Mocco, Jesse Jantzen and Damion Hahn. Shane Roller won the first Junior Hodge in 1998.
“It’s a nice group to be a part of,” admitted Storley.
The eighty-sixth legislature of the State of South Dakota also honored Storley, who, like Brokaw and Lesnar, might just go on to do bigger and better things on the mat and in the octagon.
“Special people do special things,” said Schiley. “It’s going to be fun watching him.”