Through intense training, Devils Lake's Owen Lindstrom improving on wrestling mat
DEVILS LAKE – Owen Lindstrom had one goal.
The goal, of course, was a simple yet intricate one: improve his wrestling craft.
Such a goal came after the Devils Lake High School wrestler picked up a dose of national wrestling exposure on the mat during his eighth-grade year. Lindstrom returned to the drawing board (or, in this case, the mat) after not performing as well as he would have preferred during the tournament run.
After tidying up his current expertise and adding to it, Lindstrom – now going into the 10th grade – found better results. Such was the case in the 2022 16U National Duals in Loves Park, Illinois, during the week of June 7.
In a week’s worth of freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, Lindstrom not only picked up wins over wrestlers from around the country (Texas, Michigan and Alabama, just to name a few) but additionally came close to securing All-American honors. All-American honors require a wrestler to have at least four wins in a tournament and no more than two losses. Lindstrom finished with a collective 6-4 record during the tournament.
Despite coming up short, Lindstrom didn’t take the experience lightly. If anything, Lindstrom took it as a sign to get even better.
“It really just shows you where you’re at at the national level because the ultimate goal is to go [Division I], and that’s where everyone else has the same goal, is at these big tournaments,” Lindstrom said. “It shows you where you’re sitting with the people in my class when I graduate, and it shows me where I’m at [in] competition with them."
Devils Lake Wrestling head coach Brendon Flynn has noticed how much Lindstrom has wanted to improve. After Lindstrom’s initial exposure to tournament action, he and Flynn decided to talk and determine the next best course of action to improve.
And so, a road map was hashed out regarding what was expected moving forward.
“Just how I speak to him and what we’re going to do for training,” Flynn said. “Like, instead of wrestling for say, 30 minutes, now we are going to wrestle for 50 minutes. Just the workload increase and find out what you’re really made of mentally. Just push him to his limit so he knows where his limit is and see if he can take it past that on his own, and that’s what he’s been doing.”
An adjustment period was expected from such a change. However, Lindstrom adjusted regardless.
“Just his whole personality has changed as far as how his approach,” Flynn said. “A lot of maturity with his growth in how he takes everything [seriously]…Not saying that he didn’t take things serious, but there is a difference in how your approach is when you become a true competitor. Everything is meticulous in how you do…he didn’t cheat on his meals, and he didn’t cheat on any training, and everything was done to a tee. So, there was a lot of discipline growth.”
Of course, such an adjustment doesn’t come without another dose of reality. However, it wasn’t an adjustment Lindstrom was not going to make and continue to make even after his Illinois bout.
If anything, it was just another obstacle in need of pinning down.
Through this mentality, Lindstrom will look to continue to improve on the mat in anticipation of the upcoming school year. But not before Lindstrom takes part in the 2022 USA Wrestling Junior and 16U National Championships in Fargo in mid-July (July 16-22).
A goal is still in need of reaching, and while no goal comes easy, Lindstrom is ready to pin down anything that comes his way.
“It’s hard, but I feel like you can do a lot more than your brain tells you, you can do,” Lindstrom said. “If you tell yourself you’re going to quit, you’re going to quit. It’s who is stronger mentally is who is going to succeed, because a match isn’t won in the first period. The person with the best mentality and the strongest mind is going to win in the third period because they’re not going to give up, and they’re going to be going 100% the whole time. So, you just have to take it. It’s all gas, no breaks at all times, no matter what.”
John Crane is a sports/general assignment reporter for the Devils Lake Journal. Feel free to contact John via work phone (701-922-1372), cell phone (701-230-4339), email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Twitter (@johncranesports) with any story ideas.