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Athlete of the Week – Landen Johnson, Owatonna Wrestling

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OWATONNA, Minn. (KTTC) - He's 46-1, the top-ranked wrestler in the state at 152 pounds, and coming off a spectacular Section Tournament performance. He pinned two opponents in less than two total minutes, tech-falled another, and then beat the 4th-ranked wrestler in the state to earn a state berth. But Owatonna's Landen Johnson isn't one to dwell on his accomplishments -- just listen to him sheepishly describe his season.

"It's going pretty good so far, I think," he said. "Beat everyone that I've wanted to."

And it's true. He has. Rewind back to the Minnesota Christmas Touranament. Johnson was pitted against then top-ranked Hunter Lyden of Stillwater, an enigma of a wrestler he had been unable to beat. "Lando" scored the upset to win the Christmas Tournament title, a turning point in his season.

"That was pretty big, especially because I lost to him three times last year" Johnson said. "So getting back was fun. Helped a lot going the rest of the season knowing I can win state now."

Johnson is an absolute terror on the mat. While most grapplers are short and stocky, Johnson is a lanky 6-foot anomaly -- different from nearly every single one of his competitors.

"His legs are farther away, he has a bigger reach and so it just kind of throws off the timing for a lot of people," said Owatonna Head Coach Adam Woitalla. "It's really hard to adjust your style of wrestling on the fly like that, so that's a huge advantage for him is having a unique kind of style of wrestling that is kind of his own."

But it's not just the natural attributes that set Johnson apart.

"He's one of the most coachable kids we have in our room, constantly looking to improve his craft and get better, which is why he has all that talent and can do stuff in the future."

Landen Johnson of the Owatonna Huskies Wrestling Team is this week's KTTC Athlete of the Week.

Mark Poulose

Mark Poulose is a Sports Reporter/Anchor at KTTC.

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