Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – After a back injury forced Landon Green to miss all of last wrestling season the easy thing would have been to walk away from the sport entirely.
Anyone that knows Green is well aware the West High senior is never interested in taking the easy way out.
It was that intense work ethic coupled with a burning desire to compete that brought Green back for one final wrestling go around after a year away from the sport.
“I love the toughness that you gain from wrestling and I like the competitiveness of it,” Green said. “I like challenges and pushing myself and I think it’s the hardest sport so that’s one of the main reasons I did it.”
His work ethic and competitive streak made Green return to the wrestling room and are two of the biggest reasons he has become one of the top 195-pounders in the state.
Green is ranked seventh in Class 3A at 195-pounds and boasts a 28-7 record.
He has finished third or better at every tournament this season after posting a third-place finish at the talent-rich two-day Midwest Shootout at Bettendorf on Saturday.
“He brings a lot to the team, his work ethic and his drive really motivate people,” West High junior Will Hoeft said. “He is just a born worker.”
Green was all-state defensive tackle in the fall and will enter the spring as the defending 4A state shot put champion in the spring Green.
With his wrestling skills a little rusty from a year off it would have been easy for Green to skip his final season on the mat and start prepping for track season and his eventual career in the United States Army which will begin after graduation.
Instead he returned to the wrestling room with new-found energy for the sport.
“I’m having fun,” Green said. “It’s challenging but you have the fun days too. It’s having a great time.”
One of only a handful of seniors in a West High room full of young talent Green has become a leader for first-year Trojan head coach Nate Moore.
His strength and athleticism have helped Green make a smooth transition back to wrestling competition after a year off but it has been his work ethic that has impressed Moore.
“He is so athletic, he is just a freak out there,” Moore said. “He doesn’t really know to wrestle that well and that’s our job as coaches to teach him how to do it but he goes out there and he fights and works hard in practice and he’s a great example for everyone in the room.”
Hard work is something that has always come naturally for Green.
It is what drew him to wrestling in the first place.
“Some people have it and some people can gain it but I think I was just made for it,” Green said of his work ethic. “I just like pushing myself.”
With 28 wins Green has already matched his win total from his sophomore season when he finished 28-24.
Of his seven losses four have come to wrestlers ranked in the top three and three have been while competing at 220 pounds.
“I feel physically better but mostly I’m just more confident,” Green said. “When I go out there I’m always going out there expecting to win a match and I think that’s been a change from sophomore year.”
On the mat the biggest change for Green has been his technique.
“It’s crazy to see someone with his size and with his strength, you’d expect them to just want to muscle people around all the time but he works on technique all the time,” Hoeft said. “He’s getting a lot better.”
After a year away from the sport Green now has visions of closing his wrestling career with a state medal.
First he needs to earn his first trip to the state meet through the district meet, something he isn’t taking lightly.
“I hope place top two at districts and get to the state tournament and then get on the podium at state,” Green said. “It would be amazing to finish it like that.”
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