Apollo-Ridge’s Harmon brothers excelling on mat at Armstrong

Tuesday, December 31, 2019 | 2:20 PM

Just last year, Apollo-Ridge and Armstrong worked out a co-op agreement that allowed then-Apollo-Ridge sophomore Logan Harmon to wrestle for the River Hawks and compete in orange and blue during the winter months.

During his first season, Harmon excelled. He went 22-6 with 12 pins wrestling at 182 and 195 pounds, and all six of his losses came by decision. He placed second in the section tournament and competed at the WPIAL meet, where he lost to eventual champion Max Shaw from Thomas Jefferson and third-place finisher John Meyers from Greensburg Salem.

He had a solid season and Harmon was excited that he had the opportunity to show what he could do.

“We talked to a few different schools, but Armstrong was willing to take me in and I love it here,” Harmon said. “I think this was the best choice.”

Now, Harmon is in his second year of making the 20-mile trek from Apollo-Ridge to Armstrong for wrestling practice and matches, but he’s not doing it alone. His younger brother Landon decided to join the team this year as well. He needed just a little convincing.

“I felt like there was a little bit of apprehension coming in,” Armstrong coach Brandon Newill said. “But I feel like once he got here, it wasn’t too bad.”

“It’s definitely been great. I’m starting to like it a lot more,” Landon said.

Sharing the wrestling mat has allowed the Harmons to be teammates for a second time this year. In the fall, they helped the Apollo-Ridge football team reach the WPIAL Class 2A playoffs. Now they are helping Armstrong wrestling in hopes of doing the same.

Through the first month of the season, Logan is building on the success he had last year. He has an undefeated record of 9-0 and placed first at both the Chartiers-Houston Invitational and the Armstrong Classic. He said that getting his first varsity season under his belt has helped him in his junior year.

“I mean that was my first varsity experience,” Logan said. “I got to come to a high school where I could get coached more, and I think it’s definitely helped.”

Landon, who is wrestling at 170 pounds for the River Hawks, is still settling in. He’s produced a record of 6-4 with five of his victories coming via pin and two of those pins coming within the first minute of the match.

While both of the Harmons have talent on the mat, Newill says they both bring a lot more than that and perfectly fit the culture of the Armstrong wrestling program.

“They are both just really tough kids and part of what we preach as a program is just to out-condition people, be hard-nosed, be tough and they just fit right into that,” Newill said.

In fact, that hardworking mentality is exactly what Logan believes has allowed him to take the next step this season. But the Harmons have improved in other ways as well. Newill believes Logan has dramatically stepped up his knowledge of the sport compared to where he was last year.

“I can see him thinking and taking instruction while he’s on the mat,” Newill said. “When we’re teaching him, he’s processing everything and putting it into practice. It’s pretty cool to see.”

And although he’s just in his first year, Landon has taken big steps as well.

“Since the first couple days of him coming in here, he’s improved greatly,” Newill said. “His conditioning is up. He’s more confident. After not wrestling for a while and then coming back to it, sometimes your confidence is a little bit low. But he’s building on that, getting a couple wins under his belt and realizing that it’s not too bad.”

Besides excelling on the mat as teammates, the Harmon brothers are able to get a lot more out of it than just practicing and competing together. They are able to add another element to their relationship, which Logan says is something that’s pretty special.

“For me, I’m excited. I love it,” Logan said. “I love me and my brother being on the same team, getting to have another bond and getting to become closer as brothers. It’s pretty cool.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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