Storley shines after injury setback

The true freshman has an 18-3 record this season.

Freshman Logan Storley won the match in overtime against a Michigan wrestler during Fridays competition in the Sports Pavilion.

Erin Westover, Daily File Photo

Freshman Logan Storley won the match in overtime against a Michigan wrestler during Friday’s competition in the Sports Pavilion.

by Drew Claussen

After a short delay, Gophers freshman wrestler Logan Storley has hit his stride.

Storley suffered a right ankle sprain during the Bison Open on Nov. 12 âÄî the GophersâÄô first competition of the season. The injury kept the freshman out of the teamâÄôs first five duals, and he didnâÄôt return to the team until an early-December dual against Iowa State.

âÄúI went to the [Nov. 4 Daktronics] Open, and I beat the No. 1 Division II guy in the nation 9-4, and things were going great,âÄù Storley said. âÄúI had all tech [falls] going into the finals of the Bison, and I messed my ankle up, and IâÄôm out for a month.âÄù

Storley lost his first two matches after his injury to Iowa StateâÄôs Chris Spangler and Penn StateâÄôs Mathew Brown and then won his next 11 matches. His season record is 18-3, with the third match coming when he withdrew at the Bison Open because of his injury.

Storley, who is currently ranked No. 7 at 174 pounds, said it was hard for him to sit out with the ankle injury while the team traveled to face top teams like Penn State, Cornell and Oklahoma State. But it made him that much hungrier to get back on the mat.

âÄúThey wrestled NDSU at home, and I had to sit on the bench. âÄòNever again,âÄô I said.âÄù

Storley added: âÄúI want to wrestle every single time, so IâÄôm excited to wrestle [now].âÄù

The Roslyn, S.D., native is no stranger to winning.

Storley was a six-time SouthDakota state tournament champion at Webster High School.

When it came time to be recruited, Storley drew the most attention from the Gophers and Nebraska. Like many other wrestlers, Storley said he was drawn to Minnesota by its coaching staff.

âÄúNebraska really recruited me hard. I talked to some other schools here and there like Arizona State and Iowa for a little bit, but it was really between Minnesota or Nebraska,âÄù Storley said. âÄúMinnesotaâÄôs got great fan support. Joel Maturi gives us great support, too âÄî when you have a whole school behind you itâÄôs a big difference.

âÄúIt was an easy decision for me,âÄù he added. âÄúThe coaches are great, and the teammates are great.âÄù

Storley took summer classes at Minnesota last summer âÄî something he said helped his transition into being a college athlete.

âÄúI got to go to summer school down here and got to get used to lifting and working out,âÄù Storley said. âÄúThe ankle kind of put me back a little bit, but now IâÄôm catching back up, and IâÄôve just been wrestling good lately and going to keep on a roll.âÄù

Once Storley finally got on the mat for dual meets, he became an instant asset to the GophersâÄô lineup. In FridayâÄôs dual, his last-second takedown and eventual overtime win sparked MinnesotaâÄôs comeback win against Michigan.

âÄúStorley wrestled a great match,âÄù head coach J Robinson said. âÄúGreat intensity and the ability to do something at the end to find a way to win.

âÄúWe used it as an example and said, âÄòHey, thereâÄôs four seconds left, how many people had given up?âÄôâÄùRobinson added. âÄúThatâÄôs the beauty âÄî he tied it up, and then he won.âÄù

Robinson added that Storley was figuring out how to âÄúforce his will on other people,âÄù which will make him better with time.

Storley is the only true freshman in the GophersâÄô lineup but is joined by redshirt freshmen Chris Dardanes, Nick Dardanes and Dylan Ness. After SundayâÄôs loss at Iowa, Robinson said he is not concerned with the wrestlersâÄô lack of experience going into the postseason.

âÄúIf you look at the Dardaneses, those guys come to wrestle. DylanâÄôs figuring it out, and Storley this weekend has beaten the fifth and sixth [ranked] guys,âÄù Robinson said. âÄúOur freshmen are doing good, theyâÄôve got the right attitude, and theyâÄôve got the right amount of heart that we need. We just need to keep them on track, and they know what they need to do to win.âÄù