By Mike Beas
Earlier this month, the Cascade wrestling program qualified two individuals for the State Finals for the first time ever.
Senior Logan Bickel was nothing short of ecstatic to be half of this slice of history.
The 120-pounder, ranked 23rd in his weight class entering the postseason, pinned sixth-ranked Lane Gilbert of Sullivan in the opening round of the Evansville Semistate before scoring a 6-2 decision against Gage Rutan of Columbus East.
Qualifying for the semifinals assured Bickel a berth in the finals at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. It ended a February ritual of frustration in which he had lost in either the first or second round of semistate the previous three years.
Bickel (33-9 on the season) advanced along with Cascade teammate Michael Hutchison (41-5), the third-place finisher at 160 at semistate. Previous Cascade wrestlers made it downtown in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and last winter with Dominic McFeeley.
Bickel entered the finals with a career record of 132-29, as well as the respect of his coach.
“It’s just Logan’s want to continue to compete,” said Cadets coach Quinn Harris. “He probably wrestled 100 matches in the off-season after not making it to state last season.
“On top of that, you could see the last three or four weeks he realized his high school career was about to be over. Logan has been putting in the work, and just gone to a different level.”
Bickel did a Q&A with ICON:
Q: With all the sports options out there, why do you think wrestling is the one that made the most sense to you?
A: I’ve done about every single sport growing up, and wrestling was one of the last things I tried. I started in seventh grade. I think I stuck with it because of how much I enjoyed it, and the atmosphere it gives off. It’s like a family.
Q: What does it mean to you to be the sixth (or seventh) Cascade wrestler to advance all the way to the State Finals?
A: Actually, it means a lot. It’s an accomplishment that hasn’t happened here a lot because we’re a small school. There are a bunch of different feelings. Obviously, excitement and joy. But this is also the last time wrestling for Cascade. It’s been great.
Q: The State Finals are the best of the best, so what are your expectations?
A: I’m definitely happy to be there, but I’m not quite done yet. At the start of the season, it was a little rough. But I feel I’ve grown over the last few weeks. It’s a sport that pretty much teaches you about life.
Q: What are your plans after graduating from Cascade High School?
A: I’m looking into trade school, but I would like to wrestle in college. I would be happy being part of a Division-II, Division-III or NAIA program.