I would like to start off this first entry by saying thank you to Steve Underwood and the NSAF for all the amazing meets they have put on, as well as for giving me this opportunity to share some of the details about my life as a runner.
My name is Logan Wetzel and I am currently a senior at Saline High School.
My start with the sport of track and field came back when I was a 7th grader at Saline Middle School. I had been a soccer player my entire life, and knew that I would grow up to be a soccer player in the future, but thought that trying out track and field might be a good way to stay in shape between practices and games. After a couple practices and races, I found that I had a knack for distance running and was pretty successful on a local level. It was pretty cool at the time to get some attention for running fast on the track, but the successes I had in middle school track and field did not keep me from knowing that my real future lied on the soccer field. Little did I know that the moment I stepped on the track, was the moment my life became dedicated to becoming the best distance runner I could be.
Jumping ahead a couple years to my freshmen year at Saline High School, I was forced to choose between running cross country and playing soccer for the fall season. After a lot of thought, I ended up choosing to run that fall, because the cross country team was one of the most welcoming and friendly environments I had ever been exposed to. It turned out to be the better decision, as I had a pretty successful freshmen season running 16:03 and placing 33rd at the state meet. This carried over into a great track season as well, which made me realize that I was a better runner than soccer player. Unfortunately, at the end of my freshmen track season, I dislocated my knee during a relay, and had to have surgery that put me on the sidelines for the next 10 months.
Fast forwarding to my junior year, cross country season was my first real season back after the injury. I was able to compete pretty well, and placed 16th at the state meet with a PR of 15:57, which was a big deal for me since it came from very limited training. This definitely gave me some confidence heading into the indoor track season where I was able to start training more consistently. During indoor I was able to stay healthy and compete pretty well, and even run in the emerging elite mile at New Balance Indoor Nationals which was an extremely cool experience.
Outdoor track was where I really started to see some big improvements for the first time since my freshmen year. After a winter of solid training, where I was able to get a lot of quality miles under my belt, I really saw my times start to drop. This put my teammates and me in a great position heading into the post season meets. With a lot of very talented mid distance runners in our squad, we had some very formidable relays, more specifically our 4x8 and our DMR. After our relay team won the state championship in the 4x8, we knew we were in great position with New Balance Outdoor Nationals approaching. At nationals we had a great showing in both events as a relay squad, taking 4th in the 4x8, and 1st in the DMR which was the biggest win of my career up to that point!
This indoor season has been the highlight of my running career so far. My training has been going better than ever, which has been reflected in my racing. My season opened with a couple of smaller “tune up” races, in both the 800m and the 1600m. I think these were very important leading up to my bigger races, as they helped me adjust from cross country mode to track mode, as well as just getting the gears turning and shaking off rust from a bit of time away from racing.
These races led to my first big race of the season in the GVSU Elite Mile, which had a very high caliber field, including guys like Grant Fisher and Donavan Brazier. My focus going into this race was to lay down a fast time to help set up other opportunities down the road, so when the race went out fast I was definitely excited. I ended up running 4:09 and placing 3rd behind Grant and Donavan, which was an all-time PR for me. I think this race was very beneficial for me as I got the chance to compete against some of the nation’s best runners and get a very clear gauge as to where I was at in my training.
The next big race on the calendar for me was the New Balance Grand Prix Boys Junior Mile in Boston. This race was the biggest individual race of my career, so going into it I was definitely excited. Coming off the Elite Mile a couple weeks earlier and having run a fast time there, I was more focused on winning the race then I was about running a certain time. I knew that with the extremely talented field they had set, the race was going to be very fast, regardless. Entering a race of this caliber for the first time as an individual was definitely a little nerve wracking, so being able to draw confidence from my earlier performances, especially my run in the Elite Mile, made getting to the starting line with a good mind set much easier. The race ended up going very well for me, as I won in 4:08.75, and it was one of the coolest experiences of my entire life.
After an amazing time out in Boston at the New Balance Grand Prix, it has been straight back to the daily training grind as I prepare for New Balance Indoor Nationals in a few weeks. With my training going very well under the guidance of my coach Carl Spina, and a couple of great races under my belt, I am definitely looking forward to nationals in March!
Logan Wetzel photo by Walter Pinion, crossing finish line as victorious DMR anchor for Spirit of Pre/Saline at NBNO.