Favorite athlete: Kyle Dake (wrestler)
Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles
Favorite memory competing in sports: Winning the Wetzel Holiday Classic at Hatboro-Horsham High School
Music on mobile device: Varies but mainly classic rock
Future plans: Possibly wrestle in college
Words to live by: “You never know what someone else might be going through. Always be kind and help someone if you can.”
One goal before turning 30: Buy my dream car
One thing people don’t know about me: I am ambidextrous
By Ed Morrone
Nobody could have possibly known it at the time, but getting cut from his seventh-grade basketball team completely transformed Logan Flynn’s life for the better.
Shortly thereafter, the now Hatboro-Horsham senior had a chance encounter with Trent Mongillo. Mongillo is the high school varsity head wrestling coach, but back then, he was coaching the middle school program. Mongillo saw Flynn lingering on the steps outside of the wrestling room one day, and seeing this 12-year-old kid who was big for his age piqued the coach’s interest. Mongillo decided to introduce himself.
“He told me he had gotten cut from his basketball team, and I said, ‘That’s a good thing, because you just made the wrestling team,’” Mongillo recalled with a laugh. “I told him he could start tomorrow, and he just told me, ‘OK, so what do I need to do?’ He didn’t have the right shoes, but he still showed up the next day.”
Flynn had never wrestled before, nor had he ever thought about the prospect of trying his luck on the mat. However, he had a powerful physique that was tailor-made for wrestling, and by his own admission, was a very physical kid with a football background who enjoyed playing rough. In hindsight, Flynn’s experience only made him wish he had started wrestling earlier in his life, but being indoctrinated into the sport later than most of the other kids provided him a built-in respect and appreciation for the dedication wrestlers have for their craft.
“I walked in that room the day after I met Trent and I never looked back,” he said. “The learning curve was tough. I didn’t even have the right shoes for the first two weeks.
“At first, I got my butt kicked every day until I decided I was tired of that and wanted to kick their butts, so I decided right then to get better every day. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but the practices were fun and I felt like I had a chip on my shoulder. I lost the first couple of matches, but I stuck with it, got more serious about it, and eventually things started working out for me.”
While Flynn was new to wrestling, he still had experience playing football and soon discovered that some of those skills he exhibited on the field could be translated to the wrestling mat. Things like balance, athleticism, physicality and agility were all aspects Flynn was familiar with, so the biggest challenge became learning the many nuances of wrestling technique, as well as mastering the intense mental grind of the sport. (To Flynn’s credit, he admits that he still hasn’t completely tackled the mental aspect of the game, calling it “a steep climb that I struggle with to this day.)
When he got to high school, Flynn decided to continue pursuing football in the fall and wrestling in the winter. Soon, and much to his surprise, he discovered that he enjoyed wrestling a lot more than football. Mongillo was alongside Flynn every step of the way, moving up to the high school program, first as an assistant before becoming the head coach. The two have grown together hand-in-hand, both perhaps enduring some initial growing pains before turning into masters of their craft.
Now, Flynn, who wrestlers for the Hatters in the 220-lb weight class, has elevated himself to a two-time captain and two-time champion at the Wetzel Classic. He was a regional qualifier a year ago, falling just short of making it to the state tournament, and now has a career record of 81-28, including a 17-2 mark this season. If Flynn stays healthy the rest of the season, he should be able to reach the coveted 100-win milestone, a feat all high school wrestlers strive for but few actually achieve.
“Logan carries that torch of the hardest worker in everything he does: wrestling room, weight room, classroom,” Mongillo said. “He is one of those guys who can take charge and be a leader of a team. Myself and his teammates trust him a lot to make sure things are done the right way. He knows it’s a journey, and he is not the type of kid who will quit at anything.”
A lot of components have contributed to making Flynn the wrestler he is today. In addition to his relentless drive and work ethic, which he said he absorbed from his father, Flynn certainly uses his size, strength and physicality to his advantage. At the same time, Mongillo says that just because Flynn is a bigger guy doesn’t mean he wins on brute force alone. Instead, he uses a combination of power, finesse and technique to outwork and outmaneuver his opponents.
“Strength is a huge part of wrestling, and it’s definitely won me matches I should have lost,” he said. “Technique is the most important thing, though. I’ll start slow in the first period, maybe get a takedown or two, but really I’m trying to wear the other guy down. By the second and third periods, I start attacking and making my shots and moves that really count. I like to feel him out and see what’s there.
“I like to keep the pressure on and mentally just make my opponent think he’s in for it. I don’t stop. My gas tank is never empty, and I’m never going to quit. It’s the only way I know how to wrestle. I’ve had to figure the wrestling aspect out on my own, but that stubbornness and no-quit mindset, I already had that in me. There’s always improvements to make, and I know I’m still capable of wrestling at a way higher level. I’m getting jitters just talking and thinking about how much I love the work. I love everything about the sport.”
Flynn certainly has the state tournament as a goal on the horizon, and the same goes for reaching 100 wins. He would be beyond thrilled to accomplish both, but at the same time, he’s matured over the years and he doesn’t want obsessive goal chasing to stand in the way of his overall enjoyment of wrestling itself. He said multiple times that, at the end of the day, it’s a sport, a game, and above anything else those things are supposed to be fun. There’s nothing fun about setting goals and punishing yourself if you fall short, so Flynn has embraced the whatever happens, happens mindset.
“I was one or two wins away from being a state qualifier, and there are times I’d take it way too seriously and forget to have fun,” he said. “By the end of last season, I was mentally weak and worn down. It was pretty surprising looking back at it that I wasn’t as upset as I thought I would be when I fell short, but I looked at it as a learning experience. I didn’t change anything with my offseason training going into this season. There are things I wanted to get better at, but I kept the same mentality of, ‘This is going the way I want it to, and I’m learning a lot.’ I’m just wrestling to wrestle and I’m going to enjoy it while it’s here.”
While it’s here are the key words, because while Flynn would definitely like to wrestle in college, he’s still unsure where he’s going to land on that prospect. He loves the idea, but he’s still evaluating his options and figuring out what he wants to do with his life after high school. Flynn said he’s applied to a couple of schools and is considering some others, but he hasn’t spoken to any college wrestling coaches yet.
He certainly has the grades to choose his own path, posting a 4.0 GPA in the fall semester and said he has a 3.3 mark overall. Flynn doesn’t consider himself an exceptional student; rather, he’s such a hard worker in anything he does that he loves the challenge of getting the work done well and on time. He gravitates toward the math and science classes, and said he couldn’t see himself sitting behind a desk doing a boring office job. As someone who likes to get his hands dirty on and off the mat, Flynn said he could see himself entering the construction field one day, but he’s still considering everything and keeping his options open.
When he’s not competing or in school, Flynn is a very busy teenager. For starters, he was recently named 69th Eagle Scout of Troop 200, and this is something he has participated in for most of his life, from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts and now an Eagle Scout. Several relatives on his mother’s side of the family had experience doing the same, and Flynn got involved at the earliest age he was allowed to join.
“It’s a big tradition on that side of my family,” he said. “Having adult leaders to look up to is like having coaches in the wrestling room, and they have shaped me into the person and leader I am today.”
On top of that, Flynn generously volunteers his time to work with the younger wrestlers in the Hatboro-Horsham pipeline. He vividly remembers being around their age and discovering the sport for the first time while also keeping in mind the structure it has added to his life. Additionally, at Hatboro-Horsham, he is a member of Link Crew, a club for student leaders who work with faculty, staff and administrators to make the entire high school experience as fulfilling as possible for everybody in the community.
“I take it seriously, because one of those kids could be the next to 100 wins once he gets to high school,” he said. “If I can positively impact others and help them out, then I want to do it. It’s very important to me. Kids in fourth through sixth grade, that’s when their character is being formed into the people they are going to become. They can look at me and see that even though I’m seven or eight years older than them, I was their age once. It’s a different connection than they would get with a coach or parent. They really like having someone to look up to. Plus, once they’re freshmen they are going to go out and wrestle grown men, so I want to do what I can to help mentally prepare them.”
As far as what’s on his checklist between now and the end of the season, as well as between now and graduation, Flynn is keeping it simple and staying right on the path he’s been traveling for the past several years. He wants to continue making memories with his teammates, and especially Mongillo, who Flynn estimated has devoted more than 8,000 hours over the past six years into helping him become the wrestler and person he is today.
“I want to make it to states,” he said. “But those memorable moments with Trent and my teammates, at the end of the day that’s what I’ll remember and appreciate so much more than anything else.”
And to think, all of this happened simply due to a chance encounter outside of a wrestling room between a middle school coach and a seventh grader … or did it?
“I think a lot of things in life happen for the reason they are supposed to,” Flynn said. “I didn’t think six years ago I’d be where I am today, and my life would have been so incredibly different had I not met Trent that day. At the same time, there’s a lot of stories of kids just like me who wrestled or did something different because they failed at something else.
“Whatever is meant to be for you will happen. You will figure it out. I did, and I got lucky sooner than some others did. Wrestling became my thing, and I’ll always be grateful for that.”
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