Prep Wrestling

#LuftTuff has strong presence at Iowa high school state wrestling tournament

Logan Luft's memory lives on as parents stay involved in sport

Referees at the 2018 state wrestling tournament are wearing special red and green scoring wristbands in honor of Logan Luft, 15, of Charles City  during the tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Logan, a high school wrestler, died in an ATV crash on July 4, 2017. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Referees at the 2018 state wrestling tournament are wearing special red and green scoring wristbands in honor of Logan Luft, 15, of Charles City during the tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Logan, a high school wrestler, died in an ATV crash on July 4, 2017. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — This time of year is hard for Lenny and Wendy Luft — the parents of the late Logan Luft.

They’ve always been a wrestling family. Logan’s two favorite things to do were to wrestle and fish.

Logan was involved in an ATV accident on July 4. On July 5, he was pronounced clinically brain dead. Logan was 15 and he was going to be a freshman at Charles City High School,

After the accident, the Lufts have had an outpouring of support from everyone in the wrestling community. It started with the hashtag #LuftTuff on Twitter and took off from there. Dual nights were dedicated to Logan, the Iowa team that went to Fargo Nationals had dog tags made in honor of Logan, the singlets for the Schoolboy Duals in Virginia had “Luft Tuff” on the back and even at the Iowa state wrestling tournament, the referees’ wrist bands all say “#LuftTuff.”

Wendy said it feels like the whole wrestling community is wrapping her in one big hug.

And sometimes, they literally wrap her in one big hug.

“It doesn’t matter what community you’re from — we’re down here and we’re supporting all of northeast Iowa and the kids that we’ve wrestled against all of the time,” Wendy said. “The guys walk off the mat after a huge win — it’s all glory to them — and they turn around and they hug us.

“They want us to know that, ‘Hey, you’re still a part of this family, we still care what you think, we still care about you.’ For us, that means everything. We don’t get to watch our own kid wrestle, but we get to watch 1,000 kids all wrestle.”

The Lufts have VIP passes for the tournament, so they are able to be mat side for any match they want to watch


While the rest of the wrestling community draws inspiration from them, they’re actually drawing inspiration from the wrestlers they’re watching.

“We’ve been here since Wednesday for duals,” Wendy said. “We’ve watched some of these kids fight harder on the mat than they’ve ever had to fight in their entire lives for their team. It’s an emotional thing to be mat side and watch and know they’re tired, they’re stressed, they’re frustrated. But they’re working and they don’t quit.

“Seeing these kids fight so stinking hard, we can do that too. As parents of a wrestler, we can fight every single day to make sure that we’re supporting Logan’s legacy and then supporting these kids. They deserve it. They deserve for us to stand there and cheer every single match.”

Logan’s legacy is one of selflessness. When Logan was 14 and getting his driver’s permit, he was posed with the question of whether or not he wanted to be an organ donor.

“That was one of the biggest things Logan did at 14,” Lenny said. “Initially, he didn’t want to be an organ donor, then Wendy kind of filled him in that it really is a good thing, ‘This is what you could do after you’re gone.’ He chose on that date to be a donor right off the bat. He got the insignia on his license.”

Five of Logan’s major organs were donated. The Lufts are trying to bring awareness to the non-profit organization Donate Life, which aims to increase the number of donated organs.

“It’s kind of brought it full circle for us to have that full purpose too,” Lenny said.

Every morning, before the tournament starts for that day, the Lufts present the referees with their wrist bands — the ones with “#LuftTuff” embroidered.


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One of the referees went up to the Lufts afterward and shared his own personal experience with donating.

“One of the officials said his wife had received a pancreas (from a donor),” Wendy said. “The whole thing is really impactful to him because he got to see what it’s like on the other side. He was super appreciative of us and he made sure that we knew that and how important it is to be a donor.”

Another referee had his ACL repaired thanks to a donor.

“There’s two individuals in a room of 24 guys that have been impacted by being a donor,” Wendy said.

Logan might not physically be in Wells Fargo Arena. But his impact is. And so is his spirit.

“As a mom, this is all I’ve known since Logan was a little kid — going through the wrestling season and gearing up for it and preparing for it,” Wendy said. “And one day you wake up and you’re no longer a wrestling mom. That’s just a hard thing to accept. They didn’t make that hard for us, they allowed us to continue have that wrestling season. It’s been awesome.”

Prairie conquers consolations

Cedar Rapids Prairie scorched the consolation bracket, posting a 9-1 record in elimination matches Thursday and Friday. The Hawks secured six medals for their seven qualifiers after a 2-5 mark in the first round.

Five years ago, Prairie qualified eight and produced eight medalists. They had similar aspirations.

“It’s absolutely where we thought we could be,” Prairie Coach Kane Thompson said. “I don’t know if others thought we would.”

Austin Kegley (106), third-ranked Conrad Braswell (120), Mike Jasa at 170 and 195-pounder Ashton Stoner-DeGroot won consecutive consolation bouts to move into the top eight of their respective classes and reach the awards stand. They joined senior semifinalists Trenten Wennermark (138) and Derek Horak at 182.


“It’s been unbelievable to see them come together and work on the back side,” Thompson said. “it’s fun to watch. They are loose and ready to go.”

Dylan Falck update

Thursday, Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Dylan Falck was thrown onto to the mat and injured his neck. He was put on a stretcher and put in an ambulance where he was transported to the hospital.

Friday, Kennedy coach Dennis Hynek said Falck suffered a fracture in his C3 vertabrae, but the MRI came back clear and the doctors won’t have to do surgery. He said they’re very fortunate Falck doesn’t need surgery.

“He’s doing OK,” Hynek said. “It’s one of those deals where we’re going to isolate it for a while — 2 1/2 months — then start rehab. He’s anxious to get out of the hospital. He’s doing as well as can be expected.”

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