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Anderson's Logan Parks holds a 40-1 record this season and he is ranked No. 7 overall in the state at 140 pounds.
WRESTLING: Anderson's Parks is a quick learner (PHOTO)
After a late start, Anderson grappler Parks has blossomed into one of the state's best
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While many young grapplers start the sport as early as their preschool or kindergarten years, Parks didn’t hit the mats until he was a seventh grader.
Just a few years later, however, it’s safe to say the Titans’ junior team captain is up to speed.
With a 40-1 record this season, Parks is ranked No. 7 overall in the state at 140 pounds and No. 4 in Division 1.
“He’s closed that gap and now surpassed most of those kids that have been wrestling five, six years longer than him with just the right attitude, the right work ethic, the right diet (and) the right mindset,” said Anderson Coach Jerry Frazier.
Last season Parks was also among Michigan’s best, as the then-sophomore posted a 50-10 record, won a league championship and earned a trip to the state finals.
So how exactly is that Parks improved so quickly after getting a late jump on his career?
Well, when the high school season ends, he keeps going.
During the offseason, he wrestles with such organizations as the National United Wrestling Association for Youth (NUWAY) and the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU).
Wrestling both locally and nationally, he competes in an average of 80 offseason matches and last summer was a member of Team Michigan in the AAU Junior Olympics, an event that was held in Detroit.
“Because I did start my wrestling career late, it was important that I continue in the offseason with these tournaments,” Parks said. “The competition was tough, as most offseason wrestlers are definitely committed to training to be the best. That in itself helped me get where I am today.”
And where he is today is helping to lead one of the best wrestling squads in the area.
The Titans have won six consecutive district titles and have captured four of the last five league championships.
Currently, three of his teammates are also considered among the state’s best on what is an overall strong, talented team.
The Titans’ Donte Rivera-Garcia (112) is No. 4 in his weight class, while Jacob Balogh (145) and Chris Pauly (189) are listed among the honorable mentions in their respective weight classes.
Frazier said that Parks sets that sets an example for his teammates, on a daily basis, with his overall positive demeanor and with his relentless work ethic.
“I’ve been coaching for 19 years and (it’s great) just having his presence in the wrestling room every day for the kids to look up to,” Frazier said. “It’s great to have that leadership in our room, it makes everyone better and makes everyone strive to be better and makes everyone look up to him.”
With the wrestling postseason about to get underway, the Titans will continue looking to Parks for leadership as they make a run for a state championship. At the same time, he’ll have his eyes set on bringing home an individual title.
“Winning as a team and an individual both have rewards,” Parks said. “I would love both victories. As a captain of the Southgate Anderson Wrestling Team it would validate our drive and dedication to each other.
“However, I push myself as hard as I can and set my goals high. Winning as an individual would mean that I have achieved a goal I set for myself, nothing could be more gratifying.
When it comes to what Parks can achieve as wrestler, Frazier said that the sky is the limit for him.
“He probably works harder than any kid I’ve coached in 19 years,” Frazier said. “He deserves whatever he gets and whatever’s coming to him, because he definitely puts the time and the work in.”
The Anderson wrestling team competed yesterday at the Downriver League Meet and team districts kick off Wednesday for the Titans at Lincoln Park.
Last Updated: 1/31/2014 7:01:19 PM EST