By STEVE KRAH
Maconaquah High School wrestler Logan Farnell has earned his third trip to the IHSAA State Finals.
The Braves 160-pound senior has absorbed something from his other visits to Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis and the state tournament series leading up to them.
“I learned just to enjoy the moment, have fun and wrestle my match,” says Farnell, who finished second to Rochester’s Brant Beck at the Peru Sectional Jan. 28 and reigned at the Peru Regional Feb. 4 and Fort Wayne Semistate Feb. 11 and is scheduled for his State Finals first-round bout on Friday, Feb. 17.
Gates open at 12:30 p.m. The Parade of Champions begins at 1:30. The first round for weight classes 106-145 starts at 2 with 152-285 beginning at 5:30.
Friday’s winners advance to Saturday, Feb. 18. Doors open at 8 a.m. The quarterfinals/semifinals session starts at 9 a.m. After the fieldhouse is cleared, doors open at 3:30 with the consolations at 4:30 and finals at 7:30. All times are Eastern.
Farnell, who is comfortable on his feet or on the mat, scored a 17-1 technical fall then three pins to earn his latest semistate title. He took first place at semistate and went on to place sixth at the 2022 State Finals. He was a semistate runner-up then lost in the first round at State in 2021.
He posted a 1-3 record as a freshman then went 40-4 as a sophomore and 46-3 as a junior and is 45-1 as a senior. His 129 career wins ranks him third all-time at Maconaquah. At the top of the list are state qualifiers Chase Wilson (Class of 2014) with 167 and Joe Schrock (Class of 2004) 143.
Farnell is also a three-time Three Rivers Conference meet winner.
His commitment to wrestle and study University of Indianapolis was set a couple of months ago.
“I wanted to get it done before the season so I can relax and have fun,” says Farnell, who will join the Jason Warthan-coached Greyhounds and study physical therapy.
“I thought it would be fun and my mom has gone through physical therapy,” says Logan for his reasons of choosing that major. “I want to help people. I want to give back to the community. I feel that’s a way I can do it.”
Bob Freije, who is in his 19th year as Maconaquah head coach, has been training Farnell since the wrestler was in elementary school.
“He’s a work-in-progress like everyone should be,” says Freije of Farnell. “He keeps learning more and more and more because knowledge is power.
“That’s really leading to all his success.”
Freije appreciates Farnell for what he means to the team.
“He’s a good leader and mentor to his peers,” says Freije. “He’s very humble. Everything you want in a student-athlete.”
Logan, who also plays baseball, is one of Danielle and Michelle Farnell’s five children.
Dalton Farnell (Class of 2020) is the oldest brother and a former wrestler and baseball player at Maconaquah.
Ethan Farnell is a 170-pound sophomore wrestler for the Braves who lost in the second round at semistate. He also plays football.
Caitlyn Farnell is a freshman wrestling manager. Aidyn Farnell is a middle school wrestler.
The Farnell brothers were two of seven grapplers making the trek from Bunker Hill to Fort Wayne Saturday.
Junior Brayden Raber (113) placed fourth and earned a State Finals berth. Sophomore Austin Ringeisen (182) bowed out in the second round. Falling in the first round were senior Camron Montgomery (285) and Wyatt Price (145) and junior Alex Ousley (126).
Robert A. Freije is the son of 2008 Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee Robert H. Freije, who went 322-120 in 26 seasons (1978-2003) at Plainfield and Brownsburg.
“I learned a lot from my father,” says the younger Bob Freije, who has 371 dual wins on his ledger. “Growing up around that and knowing that family atmosphere and trying to connect. You mold them and make them as good as they can be.
“Don’t be a cookie-cutter. I got that from my dad. Every one of his wrestlers were different. Having him as my mentor has made me the type of coach I am.”
Frieje is a physical education teacher at Maconaquah and runs the whole wrestling program, including the Battling Braves club. His assistant coaches are Derrick Page and Bill Tabler.