When Logan Vaughan moved from Rochester to the Kasson-Mantorville school district when he was in fifth grade, Noah Ryan was one of the first wrestlers to reach out.
Ryan was a sophomore at Kasson-Mantorville at that point, and he invited Vaughan to join the KoMets' offseason workouts.
Since that point, Vaughan has looked up to Ryan, who went on to win two state championships at Kasson-Mantorville and who is now entering his fifth year at St. Cloud State University after being named an NCAA Division II All-American in 2020.
The relationship between Vaughan and Ryan didn’t fade or disappear. Ryan helped set the standard for Vaughan, who has followed in his mentor's footsteps. Vaughan has transformed into a four-time state placewinner who owns 139 career victories.
On Tuesday, Vaughan followed in Ryan's footsteps once more whe he committed to wrestle at St. Cloud State.
"It’s a lot like Kasson,” Vaughan said. "Their team and culture is very similar to how Kasson is ran. The coaches are similar too. The transition is going to be way easier.”
Ryan isn’t the only former K-M star on the Huskies' team right now as 2019 K-M graduates Robby Horsman and Grant Parrish are on the roster. The trio told St. Cloud State assistant coach Brady Wilson about Vaughan. The Huskies’ coaching staff pushed hard for Vaughan so that they could keep that Kasson-Mantorville-to-St. Cloud State pipeline alive and well. It certainly helped that Vaughan was getting rave reviews from Horsman, Parrish and Ryan.
I am very honored and excited to announce my verbal commitment to https://t.co/7DUVB0YGNA State University to further my academic and athletic career. I want to thank my family, friends, teammates and coaches for helping me get to where I am today! #Gohuskies 🐺 @SCSUHUSKIES_WR pic.twitter.com/PTgOgOq52v— Logan Vaughan (@Loganvaughan7) May 25, 2021
“I don’t think St. Cloud would’ve been talking to me without them,” Vaughan said. "I’m very close with Robbie. I was working out with him (Monday). I’ve looked up to Noah Ryan for years.”
Even back in fifth grade, Vaughan knew that there wasn’t a substitute for hard work. He’s worked tirelessly to perfect his craft and has never been one to miss offseason workouts. But he points to the supporting cast for turning him into one of the best wrestlers in the state.
It starts from the top with KoMets coach Jamie Heidt. The former Big Ten champion and All-American has transformed the K-M wrestling program and he worked tirelessly with Vaughan for years.
"I give him 100 percent of the credit,” Vaughan said. "He can take bad guys and make them good. He can take good guys and make them amazing. He can take amazing guys and turn them into outstanding guys. He builds such a great work ethic into kids. If you’re committed to him and he’s committed to you, there are great things that can happen. I took that path and I’m so thankful for him.”
He's also grateful for learning under leaders such as Noah Ryan and Brady Berge, who were state champions and the top athletes on a team full of standouts, yet they took Vaughan under their wings and taught him their winning ways. On Monday, Brady Berge was running Vaughan and Horsman through drills just to help them get better and stay in tip-top shape.
Or guys like Broc Berge and Jared Johnson, who would grapple with Vaughan in the early mornings before school got started.
Or in the practice room where Vaughan worked alongside two four-time state champions in Patrick Kennedy and Bennett Berge.
There’s a wall at Kasson-Mantorville High School that lists the wrestlers who’ve won state championships. Vaughan has come ever so close four times but he’s fallen just short of getting on that wall. It’s driving him constantly. Wrestling at the next level was a goal that Vaughan set out to accomplish. He completed the first step of that journey on Tuesday. But another goal is that state title. He fell to Thief River Falls’ Brady Kasprick in a tight 4-3 decision in the Class AA 145-pound state championship match last year.
"It really does eat me alive that I'm not on that wall,” Vaughan said. “But it pushes me 100 percent. I’ve never had a year where I was dominant from start to finish and just racking up points and being aggressive from the start. Usually, I start slow and towards the end of the year, I get better. It just sucked to end up a little short.”
There’s a fire and a passion burning inside Vaughan. He’s going to keep working for that individual state title and with the hope of helping Kasson-Mantorville get back to the top of Class AA.
Noah Ryan had about as good of a finish to a senior year back in 2017 before heading off to St. Cloud State. He won an individual state title and Kasson-Mantorville was the team state champion.
Vaughan is hoping to follow in Ryan’s footsteps one more time.