ERIE, Mich. — Logan Griffin had plenty of motivation on his way to becoming one of Michigan's best wrestlers this season.
The Erie Mason sophomore began the school year still reeling from the fact that he had finished his freshman campaign getting pinned in the 112-pound state final in Division 4. That loss kept him from becoming only the second Eagle to win a state championship.
“I needed to get back to where I was last year and this year I needed to win it,” Griffin said about his loss to Decatur’s Luke Bell at the 2:38 mark of their match.
He fed off the disappointment and it helped drive him this season.
It culminated last Saturday when Logan defeated Carson City Crystal's Kenneth Dittenber 5-4 in three overtimes at 112 to win a state championship and finish a perfect season.
Griffin had a 27-0 record, including 16 victories by pin.
The first overtime is a one-minute with a take down winning the match. The second overtime has two 30-second periods.
If the score is still tied, a third overtime is 30 seconds. An escape by the bottom wrestler wins the match. The top wrestler wins by holding on.
“I just had to ride him out and make sure he didn’t get out,” Griffin said. “It was probably one of the hardest matches I’ve ever been in. I was pretty tired.”
Erie Mason coach Alex Quinones said he wasn’t surprised Griffin chose to be on top.
“Most people choose bottom, but when he gets on top, he’s so tough,” Quinones said. “He’s good on his feet too, but can hold a lot of guys down and he punishes people.”
At Griffin’s side throughout the season was his brother, Brandon, 23, who serves as an Erie Mason assistant coach.
Brandon, who placed fifth at state while at Erie Mason, watched with pride as his younger brother become a state champion.
“I couldn’t be more proud,” Brandon said. "The highlight of my wrestling career was him winning a state championship.
“I never got there during my career. I was really proud to be in his corner.”
The overtime periods kept everyone on the edge of their seats. It wasn’t until that final second ticked off that Brandon could finally feel a sense of relief for his brother.
“It was crazy,” Brandon said. “We let Logan decide [his position] for overtime, and he chose top, and it worked out for him.
“We had enough confidence to let him decide. He’s really tough on top and he showed it all weekend. Even with his bad shoulder he was able to ride it out.”
Griffin’s pursuit of a state title this season was nearly derailed at the midway point of the season when he suffered a separated shoulder during practice in December.
While working out on a mat with Brandon, two heavier teammates were locked in battle next to them and accidentally collided into him. Logan came out of the collision with the injury.
As a result, he was sidelined for several weeks and was not allowed to compete. He wrestled barely a half of the matches of his freshman season when he posted a 49-3 record.
He returned to the mat during the latter weeks of the season, but still is not completely healthy.
“I’d say I was about 87 percent,” Griffin said. “I was determined that I would make it back and my people supported me.”
The victory he said was for more than himself. He wanted to win a state title for Brandon and his brother Jesse, 30, who also wrestled at Erie Mason, as well as his teammates and coaches.
“We didn’t even know if he was going to make it back in time for the tournament after he got hurt,” Quinones said. We brought him along slowly to make sure he was ready.
“It was about two weeks before the tournament. He’s just a really tough kid. Last year he dropped a 50-pound weight on his toe and I thought he broke it, but he wrestled anyway. Then he got his lip split open and he had stitches, and we gave him a mask but he took it off and finished second at a tournament.”
Nick Quinones, Alex’s son, won the school’s first state wrestling title at 103 pounds in Division 3 in 2006.
Griffin has no disappointment to deal with during this offseason, only thoughts of repeating his achievement next season.
Contact Donald Emmons at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.