Displaying athletic prowess is often compared to performing and being on stage. But Lake Norman High wrestler Logan Pavia probably understands those concepts better than most athletes.
The senior middleweight is not only a state championship contender this year, but he’s also an excellent singer and actor.
Logan has the lead role in Lake Norman’s production of the musical “Bye Bye Birdie,” which will run in mid-March, just a few weeks after the wrestling state championships. The final few months of his high school career will be a climax to four years worth of highlights in both athletics and performing arts.
“The similarities I see between those two would have to be staying composed and performing under any type of pressure,” Logan said. “Whether it’s the crowd watching you or you doing everything you can (to do well). Mentally, both help each other when it comes to performing.”
The son of Lake Norman coach Tommy Pavia, Logan has been a Wildcats wrestler for three years. He competed as a freshman for West Iredell High, where his father coached for three years after a previous stint as Lake Norman’s coach from 2006 to 2009.
Logan, who is 11-0 this season, had over 150 career wins entering the 2015-16 season. He is a three-time conference and regional champion and placed in the top four at the state individual state tournament each of the past two seasons.
His father describes him as “not super strong” and without having any “big-time moves.” It’s Logan’s ability to keep his composure, especially during the big matches, that separates him from many of his opponents. Most of Logan’s improvement during his high school years has been through his footwork and knack for scrambling around the mat.
At last year’s 4A state championships, Logan pushed eventual state champion Will Clark of Cary to the brink of elimination, dropping a 4-3 match in the semifinals. Logan won a consolation match to place third overall.
Logan is dedicated to the sport he started at age 5. An introvert by nature, he began singing on stage only because of a school class scheduling glitch in his eighth-grade year.
“He came home from school one day and said ‘I can’t believe they signed me up for chorus. You got to get me out,’” said Tommy, an Air Force veteran. “I said ‘Suck it up.’ Later that year he was singing (the song) ‘Piano Man’ in front of 300 people.”
Logan, whose inspirations include Billy Joel, began to love singing as much as he loved wrestling. He performed as a freshman at West Iredell and auditioned for Lake Norman’s musical during his sophomore year.
Theater teacher Kelly Dowell has been directing the school’s musicals for the last 14 years. She remembers hearing Logan sing for the first time.
“He came here two years ago, and I remember thinking ‘where has he been?’” said Dowell. “He has one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever heard in my life.”
Logan had supporting roles in Lake Norman’s productions of “Shrek The Musical” and “The Drowsy Chaperone” the last two years. Last spring, Logan was nominated for a Blumey, a regional award issued by Blumenthal Performing Arts to honor high school theater classes, as was the entire Lake Norman cast.
This year, Logan will be portraying Albert Peterson in “Bye Bye Birdie.” The cast will rehearse over the next four months, in the thick of wrestling season, but Dowell says she has no problem being flexible with athletes’ busy schedules, especially when one plays such an important role.
Logan is likely to be tied down with wrestling through Feb. 20, the date of the individual state finals. He should have plenty of company from his Lake Norman teammates. Seniors Zak Rainess, Chase Kominek, Karter Baltick and Patrick Dabiero and juniors Nick Perrelli and Clay Greenwald all reached the state tournament last year.
Tommy says Logan has been recruited to wrestle in college, but Logan is more interested in pursuing a career in singing and acting.
Logan’s goal is to attend UNC Chapel Hill and major in performing arts and pharmacology. If he could dictate his future, he says, he would love to perform on Broadway and eventually act in and produce Hollywood films.
Joe Habina is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.