The Mind of a Massa

Updated: December 25, 2020

Photo: Logan Massa (left) has not wrestled for Michigan since 2019, but has used the time to excel in freestyle, including a come-from-behind victory over Hayden Hidlay in a 74-kilo match at the recent RTC Cup in Cincinnati.

Coming from a Michigan family that has dealt with so much wrestling heartbreak, Logan has regained a positive attitude and success on the mat

By Mike Finn

In 2020, most Americans have had a difficult year. One of the lone exceptions may be Michigan wrestler Logan Massa.

“2020 has been a great year,” said Massa, who will be a senior in Ann Arbor this winter. “I’m enjoying it right now. I just got engaged to my beautiful fiancée. My sister just got a new dog. We are just enjoying life in the Massa household. We are just trying to be a close family and as successful as God will want us be.”

It’s obviously not that Logan, nor any of his family members — including older brother Taylor, sister Kameron, and parents Rodger and Rhonda Massa, who hail from the central Michigan community of St. Johns — don’t care that many have suffered from the pandemic that has prevailed throughout much of 2020.

It’s just that this wrestling family has spent the past decade dealing with real-life physical and emotional pain that comes from seeing both Logan and Taylor suffer in a sport that provides such great promise at first.

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“There is nothing worse than seeing your kid upset or hurt. You’d rather it be happening to you,” said Rodger, a chiropractor, who also served as the boys’ wrestling coach of the “Massa’s Maniacs” wrestling club in St. Johns. “You see someone work so hard and do so well and all of a sudden he has an injury and all of the things that come up from it, like a loss of confidence. It’s so hard to get everything back. Hopefully they do.”

Fortunately, Logan has nearly found his way back after dealing with past disappointments. He took an Olympic redshirt in 2019-20. During that time, he won two U.S. Senior Nationals at 74 kilograms and recently helped the Cliff Keen Wrestling Club win the RTC Cup in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Among his victories in that exhibition between six Regional Training Center teams was an 8-8 criteria win — after trailing 8-0 at intermission — over Hayden Hidlay,  a two-time All-American from NC State.

“The first thing I thought about was (Olympic/World champ) Jordan Burroughs, a guy at my weight class,” Logan said. “I’ve seen him go down by six points in a match, but he walks to the corner calm, cool and collected, then walks back out there and puts up a quick six points in 30 seconds. That’s what I wanted to do. That’s what I did. I pushed it for three minutes and ended up getting the victory.”

Logan definitely has a different mindset than he did in the 2018-19 season that saw the Wolverine fail to place for a second straight year after the former three-time Michigan state champ from St. Johns High School finished third at 165 pounds as a redshirt freshman in 2016-17.

But the physical demands had also taken its toll on Logan, who suffered two knee injuries between 2017 and ‘19.

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