By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – All the way through junior high Tyler Linderbaum figured by the time his junior season rolled around he would be playing a key role as a big man in the Solon lineup.
Linderbaum turned out to be right just in a much different way than he imagined.
A basketball player most of his life, Linderbaum has needed just two seasons of wrestling to become a big-time contributor for Class 2A second-ranked Solon and one of the top heavyweights in Class 2A.
“I had played basketball all my life, I was always a little taller than most the other kids,” Linderbaum said. “I just wanted to try out wrestling. I just wanted something a little different and I enjoyed it.”
Linderbaum pinned all three of his opponents on Saturday to win the 285-pound title at the Ed Hadenfeldt Invitational.
The 3-0 performance improved Linderbaum to 30-5 on the season and helped bump the junior to No. 5 in the Class 2A 285-pound rankings released by IAwrestling Monday.
“He’s figuring out how to wrestler,” Solon coach Blake Williams said. “Last year he was an athlete that was wrestling and now he is becoming a wrestler that is a great athlete.”
Linderbaum never had much interest in wrestling.
The only time he ever tried the sport was during the eighth-grade split season that allowed him to do both basketball and wrestling.
As a freshman Linderbaum watched his older brother Logan, now a wrestler at Minnesota State, place sixth at the state meet as a heavyweight.
The next year Tyler Linderbaum finally gave wrestling shot and the results began to follow.
“My first summer here I invited him up to a summer workout and we ended up having a bean bag tournament as a wrestling team and I think he liked that,” William said with a laugh. “I credit that. I think that’s what hooked him.”
In a sport that many competitors take up in their elementary school days, Linderbaum acclimated himself quickly.
He posted a 31-21 record last season as slightly undersized heavyweight.
“That was my first year wrestling so I learned a lot, guys helped me in practice every day,” Linderbaum said. “I was little undersized, a lot of kids were stronger and since I put work in the offseason trying to get bigger and stronger I feel like I can compete better with those top level guys.”
Now 6-foot-2 and 255 pounds with a year of experience under his belt Linderbaum has quickly ascended the heavyweight ranks.
Of his 30 wins, 29 have come by fall and four of his five losses have come to opponents ranked first or second.
A year after picking up the sports Linderbaum is thinking about a trip to the state meet.
“I think I’ve improved a lot,” Linderbaum said. “I just need to keep getting better every day in practice and try to improve every day into February.
A first-team all-state lineman in football last fall, wrestling is really the fourth sport for Linderbaum who is also member of the varsity track team and was a starter for the Spartans state tournament baseball team last summer.
The sky is the limit for him,” Williams said. “Obviously he is talented in four different sports and wrestling may not be his number one sport but he has proved that it’s going to help him in all other areas of his life and he knows that and that’s why he’s out here doing it, you have to love a kid like that.”